The taverns, tiprooms and tippling houses of early New Castle

By Amy Cherry 5:39pm, May 17, 2013 - Updated 6:48am, May 18, 2013
WDEL's Amy Cherry has the story.
Learn about the taverns, tiprooms and tippling houses of early New Castle in a new exhibit at the Old Library Museum that opens Saturday.
WDEL's Amy Cherry has a preview.

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Back in the 1600s, Old New Castle had at least 15 taverns that opened their doors for a drink, some grub, and a whole lot more.

"Taverns were really the center of life here in town. They also offered lodging; they even functioned as post officers," says Mike Connolly, Director of the New Castle Historical Society.

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The watering holes also served as the center of colonial cultural life.

"They hosted dances, they hosted scientific exhibitions; they hosted public auctions so if someone passed away, their estate was often auctioned off at the local tavern," says Connolly.

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The exhibit contains an old tavern license, drinking vessels and a replica of a tavern table--complete with oysters, tobacco and pipe, a newspaper, and a deck of cards.

Back in the day, tavern goers even played drinking games using a puzzle jug -- that's a far cry from modern-day flip cup or beer pong.

"It's a tricky little device. It looks kind of like a pitcher, but the neck of the pitcher is perforated so it has holes all around it and the bet was that someone couldn't drink the contents without spilling the contents all over their shirt," he says.

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The exhibit is free, and you can check it out Saturday at the 89th annual Day in Old New Castle tour. It runs through December.

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