CHESTERFIELD — It will likely be a couple years before the historic Stone House Tavern opens as a museum.
The wooden part of the structure at the corner of routes 9 and 63 dates to 1790, while the stone house itself went up in 1831, according to the Chesterfield Historical Society, which bought it last year. The previous owner, Constantine “Deeko” Broutsas, died in February 2018.
In December, the historical society was awarded a matching grant from the N.H. Land and Community Heritage Investment Program to assess the building and plan for its preservation.
With that report in hand, the historical society is now looking at two phases of renovations, Cornelia “Neil” Jenness, president of the historical society’s board, said Friday. The first involves the chimneys, roof and other work on the outside of the structure. The second includes installing an accessible entrance and bathroom, and a staircase, Jenness said.
The society is applying this month for additional LCHIP funding for the first phase, which would probably start next year, Jenness said. Also next year, the group would apply for another LCHIP infusion to help fund the second phase of renovations.
Jenness said finishing the work and opening is at least a couple years out.
“In the meantime, we’re working on the story we’re going to tell,” she said.
There’s a lot to work with. John Pierce moved to town in the 1770s and built a house on the parcel in 1790. His son, Ezekiel Pierce, built the stone house in 1831 and turned it into a temperance tavern and stagecoach stop.
Two of his daughters, both teachers, later lived at the property, which then extended to Spofford Lake. One is “remembered as an outspoken participant in town and school meetings” and an “ardent supporter of abolition and temperance,” according to the historical society’s website. Their brother ran the tavern, which acquired a liquor license during that time.
Its 20th century uses have included as a tea house and multiple antique stores.
“So it’s got lots of stories to tell,” Jenness said.
The society has been accepting gifts of antique furniture, she said. Some rooms will be arranged as they would have been in a previous era, while others will display artifacts, she said. There are also plans for a children’s area.
LCHIP grants won’t cover everything, so the historical society is also fundraising.
“I’m really impressed at how much the community — and people who aren’t even here anymore — have supported us,” Jenness said.