Backstory and Context
In 1897, Edward F. Searles acquired the property of S. Q. Hersey including the Exchange Hotel on Broadway, the adjoining hotel livery stable, and a house facing on Pleasant Street. In 1900 he created a private guest house called the Red Tavern, which is said to have been made up out of several earlier houses. This reworking and moving of existing buildings was a common practice of Searles and his architect, Henry Vaughan who was responsible for the renovations. In 1909 the Methuen Transcript reported that the Red Tavern had recently been opened to the public, providing English style accommodations. It was run for Searles by Carrie Barnes, his house keeper for many years. According to Smith B. Williams, Searles left the Red Tavern to Mrs. Barnes in his will.
The Red Tavern was purchased by Howard Freedman in 1946, who made several additions. According to advertising material from that period, the Red Tavern had 21 rooms, many of which were paneled in oak or walnut. Several rooms had large fire places and the decor continued to reflect an English theme.