HOME
BLOG
BACKBAR
JUKEBOX
PUBLICAN'S PERCH
AD INFO
ABOUT US
CONTACT US
FREE SUBSCRIPTION
COCKTAILS
        THE DEN OF THE LION small black logo
STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY DAVID McBRIDE

“The power of noble deeds is to be preserved and passed on to the future.”
                                                                      -Joshua Chamberlain

 

Joshua's Tavern in Brunswick, ME as seen in American Public House Review
JOSHUA'S TAVERN IN BRUNSWICK, MAINE


“So you’re the little woman who wrote the book that started this Great War!”
As the story goes, Abraham Lincoln spoke those words after being introduced to Harriet Beecher Stowe.  The President of the United States of America gave credit for the cause of the Civil War to this now legendary lady.  Lincoln felt, and perhaps rightly so, that if it were not for Stowe’s book Uncle Tom’s Cabin people may never have fought and died to end the practice of slavery in America.

Most Americans know of this story.  They were taught it in school, but that is usually how far the knowledge extends.  Few people know of the little town called Brunswick near the Maine coast where Stowe was inspired and authored her history changing novel.  And many people would be shocked to learn that Brunswick is perhaps the most historically significant town in America that they’ve never heard of.


Bowdoin College in Brunswick, ME as seen in American Public House Review
Chamberlain House in Brunswick, ME as seen in American Public House Review
Brunswick Church in Brunswick, ME as seen in American Public House Review
BOWDOIN COLLEGE

CHAMBERLAIN HOUSE

FIRST PARISH CHURCH


Joshua Chamberlain portrait as seen in American Public House ReviewSituated along the Androscoggin River, Brunswick is home to Bowdoin College.  Franklin Pierce, the country’s fourteenth president graduated from Bowdoin in 1824.  In 1825 both Nathaniel Hawthorne and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow graduated in the same class.  In 1850, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s husband, a professor named Calvin Stowe who graduated Bowdoin in 1824, moved to Brunswick to teach at his alumni.  It was in Brunswick’s First Parish Church where Stowe was said to have a vision that inspired her to write her book.  The pew where she sat is appropriately marked, and all who come to see it can say they saw the very place where the Civil War began and the future of this country was forever changed.

The Civil War was long and bloody, but it also produced some of the nation’s most impressive military legends.  Of all these great decorated generals, none stands taller than Maine’s own Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, whose house, now a museum, sits just across the street from the First Parish Church.  The hero of Little Round Top, with ammunition running out, ordered his men to charge the Confederates and save the high ground for the Union Army at Gettysburg.  His heroics on that hill, in the face of what must have seemed like certain defeat, helped the Union to win this pivotal battle.

Chamberlain fought and was wounded several times during the course of the war.  As if his status as American hero were not already cemented at Gettysburg, Chamberlain was shot during the Battle of Petersburg.  His wound was thought to be fatal.  As a gesture of goodwill for Chamberlain’s impeccable service, General Ulysses S. Grant had him promoted on the field to brigadier general, thinking the general would not live much longer.  But Chamberlain did live and even returned to service months later.

But in true hero fashion, Chamberlain saved his best for last.  At Appomattox Court House, his unit was selected by the Union hierarchy to formally receive the surrender of the Confederates.  As the southern troops marched down the road to give up their colors and arms, Chamberlain did something unprecedented.  He ordered his men to salute their enemy.  It was the beginning of a long and difficult healing process, and Chamberlain set the tone for the country.

After the war, Chamberlain returned to Maine and lived out his days in his house in Brunswick.  In those post-war years he served as president of Bowdoin College and also served four years as Maine’s governor.  His house is now a museum and across the street from it is a statue and monument to Brunswick’s favorite war hero.


Sidebar at Joshua's Tavern in Brunswick ME as seen in American Public House Review
Another bar view at Joshua's Tavern in Brunswick,ME as seen in American Public House Review
SIDEBAR
MAIN BAR


Just a few blocks down Maine Street is another fitting tribute to Joshua Chamberlain, a terrific pub that bears his name.  JOSHUA'S TAVERN is a local favorite to everyone from Bowdoin College students to servicemen and women at the Brunswick Naval Air Station.  The unique brick architecture lends character and atmosphere to the building and gives off an easily recognizable sense of place.  The details around the tavern are a tribute to the heritage of Maine’s coast as well as the man whose name everyone who comes to Brunswick should know.

After a morning of touring Brunswick’s historic sights, my wife and I stopped into Joshua’s for lunch.  The first thing a beer fanatic like me notices is the large selection of drafts to choose from.  But when you glance at all the taps standing at attention along the back bar, there is one the stands a bit taller.  Who could resist the “Chamberlain Pale Ale?”  I commented to my wife, “A monument is nice, and a museum would be cool, but I want someone to name a great beer and tavern after me!” 


Bar at Joahua's Tavern in Brunswick, ME as seen in American Public House Review


If you drive north on Route 1 heading towards the various gorgeous seaside villages of Maine’s rocky shore, you’ll pass only a few blocks from the center of Brunswick.  If you don’t make that turn towards Main Street and downtown, you’ll never know how close you were to experiencing one of America’s most historically significant towns.  Your vacation will come and go, and Maine will not disappoint.  But next time you make the trip, wouldn’t it be fun to see a town that was the home to a president, two literary giants, a true war hero and the start of the country’s greatest armed conflict?





JOSHUA'S TAVERN


123 MAINE STREET
BRUNSWICK, MAINE  04011

(207) 725-7981


www.joshuastavern.com




HOME
BLOG
BACKBAR
JUKEBOX
PUBLICAN'S PERCH
AD INFO
ABOUT US
CONTACT US
FREE SUBSCRIPTION
COCKTAILS