September 21, 2017

Union Oyster House

The Union Oyster House is the oldest restaurant in Boston and the second oldest in the United States. The restaurant opened in 1826 and continues to be a favorite for locals and tourists.

Union Oyster House

Ten Things I learned about the Union Oyster House

Some things that I learned about this historic establishment.

  1. Hawes Atwood founded the oyster house on October 7, 1826
  2. The establishment had various names over the years:
    • 1826 -1842 - Atwood's Oyster House
    • 1842 -1860 - Atwood & Hates
    • 1880 - 1916 - Atwood & Bacon
    • 1916 - 2018 - Union Oyster House
  3. The Atwood family were the original owners and owned the place for 87 years. Other Owners over the years:
    • 1826 - 1913 - ( 87 Years ) Atwood Family
    • 1913 - 1927 - Fitzgerald Family
    • 1927 - 1970 - ( 57 Years ) Fred L. Greaves
    • 1970 - current (47+ Years) Mr. Joseph A. Milano, Jr., and Ms. Mary Ann Milano Picardi.
  4. Formed as a corporation in March 9, 1914 by Fred L. Greaves, Charles A. Ross and John D. Marks for $5,000.
  5. The "Old Oyster Bar" inside the restaurant is the orginal one which was built in 1826.
  6. James Farren was one of the original Oyster openers. He was a champion long-distance oyster opener over the 55 years he opened approximately 6,000,000 oysters.
  7. In 1933, in the middle of the Great Depression, the Union Oyster House expanded by opening a second-floor dining room capable of seating an additional 50 customers. In 1941, the oyster house opened three new dining rooms on the second floor and installed a new kitchen and bakery with all new cooking and dishwashing equipment
  8. The large sign on the top of the Union Oyster House has been there since 1957. The street level sign outside of the building has been there since 1956.
  9. Kennedy Booth - Upstairs is where you'll find Booth 18. That is where John F. Kennedy ate at the Union Oyster House. (It was his favorite restaurant) Senator Edward Kennedy would also eat at the same booth.

    Sign reads:

    Kennedy Sign

  10. Listed as part of the National Historical Landmark in 2003. Only the main building is considered a landmark, the expansion done in 1941 doesn't count as part of the National Historical Landmark. The Landmark sign outside is on the building that is designated as a landmark.
  11. On November 28, 191, Frank Kelleher ate a total of 120 oysters at Union Oyster House, breaking the previous record of 84 oysters eaten by a Harvard student in 1916. He accomplished this in 2 hours and 15 minutes. (He would have kept going but his friends convinced him that it wasn't necessary.)

Building History

The building that occupied by the Union Oyster House was built in 1714 and has been an oyster house since 1826. Before that, it was a dry goods store wherein 1769 Benjamin Thompson, conducted early experiments with gunpowder and pressure cabinets.

The building also serves as headquarters for revolutionary movements. Between 1771 and 1775 Isaac Rogers published there the famed Revolutionary "Massachusetts Spy"

Daniel Webster Sign:
The Original U-Shaped Mahogany Oyster Bar where Daniel Webster was a Constant Customer. He Drank a Tall Tumbler of Brandy and Water with Each Half Dozen Oysters and Seldom had less than Six Plates

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