East New Market

Property Reports

39 Main Street

Johnny's Tavern

Ritchie's Place, Rich's Dance Hall, Richardson's Gas Station, Warner's Tavern

The owner of Johnny's Tavern also owns the Old Tavern at 35 Main Street.  Johnny's Tavern and its adjoining parking lot is the site of several nineteenth century properties.  The adjoining parking lot is the former location of the Dorchester House.  The tavern building is located on former site of the original 2-story J. Millensen & Son Dry Goods Store.  This store burned to the ground in the 1914 fire.  The J. Millensen store building was erected where the J.Q. Leckie Store and the William Hooper Store once stood.   These earlier stores burned to the ground in 1887.  It is a good thing the current building is made of brick.

Julian Richardson's Gas PumpsJulian Richardson started as a blacksmith around 1916 in a wagon repairing shop behind where the stores had burned in 1914.  This old blacksmith shop building was still on this property as of the late 1950s.  James Cheesman (b. 1895) stated that the old livery stables were behind where Johnny's Tavern now stands.

Richardson opened a service station and store in a small building he erected at this location in the early 1920s.  By the mid 1920s, he was listed as an automobile dealer in local directories.   He put in gas pumps around 1930.  He also quietly added two slot machines in the back of his store.   When prohibition ended in late 1933, Richardson quickly doubled the size of his building and converted the place to a tavern while still selling gas.  Warren DeMott drove to Wilmington Delaware, and brought back the first truck load of beer to "Ritchie's Place" when prohibition ended. 

The place was later known by the locals as "Rich's Dance Hall".  With Mrs. Brannock running the same type of place across the street, the cars on some Saturday nights used to park all the way to the various churches at the edges of town. 

Around 1960 Richardson closed the gas station and sold the property.  Johnny Warner purchased the building in 1972 and the adjoining properties in 1978.  Warner continues to run a restaurant and tavern at this location.  Johnny's Tavern is the original gas station building.