This tavern functioned as a guest house for Edward Searles, prominent Methuen millionaire, during the late 1800s and early 1900s.
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.