Ever since I opened my copy of Julia Robert's In Mixed Company, a history of the taverns of Upper Canada from the 1780s to the 1850s, I have wondered how many of our Upper Canadian pioneer taverns there might be left out there. Well, I passed one today - the Fryfogel Tavern - and thought I would get out of the car and have a look around.
Fryfogel's Tavern, more graciously called an inn on the official road side sign, has sat by the road between Kitchener and Goderich for 166 years, though it has not apparently acted as a tavern for most of that time. You will recall from last summer's posts on Ontario's history that the land to the west of Lake Ontario starts opening up and breweries start opening up in the 1820s and 30s. The Canada Company's plan of settlement of the area is discussed here and the way of life at the time of 1830s settlement of the district can be found in this letter from an original settler, John Stewart. Each source mentions Mr Fryfogle or Fryfogel when his tavern was a log cabin. Roberts indicates that the later 1840s form of the tavern is in the Georgian style and that this was the template for taverns for much of the pre-Confederation period:
The Georgian style worked well to project an image of prosperity and comfort, particularly in the practical sense that it enabled different activities to go on in the house at the same time.
Owned by the county's historical foundation, it well kept but something of a shame that it is not in use though that seems to be in the plans. Next to it to the west sits the site of the 1828 cabin that preceded it as the home of the family. To the east runs Tavern Brook. The original owners are buried across the road.