|Benjamin Franklin Milestone|
Directly in front of the Inn, embedded in the old stone wall is a rare milestone placed by the country’s first Postmaster General, Benjamin Franklin. So noteworthy is this excellent specimen of a vanishing reference to our nation’s early commerce and communication, that it was featured by the Town of Woodbury on the cover of its Bicentennial celebration book.
“Stagecoach and Tavern Days” written in 1900 by Alice Morse Earl described the importance and functionality of milestones:
Cheerful friends on the old roads were the milestones and guideposts. Milestones had an assured position. In social life, a dignified standing. It would be told of a road as a great honor and distinction and told fitly in capitalized sentences thus, "This Elegant road is fully Set with well-cut Milestones." A few of the old provincial milestones-remain, and put us closely in touch with the past.
When Benjamin Franklin was Postmaster-general, he set an indelible postmark in many ways on the history of our country; and many mementos of him still exist. Among them are the old milestones set under his supervision. He transacted this apparently prosaic business with that picturesque originality which he brought to all his doings and which renders to every detail of his life an interest which cannot be exceeded and scarcely equalled by the events recorded of any other figure in history.
He drove over the roads which were to be marked by milestones, seated in a comfortable chaise, of his own planning, and followed by a gang of men, and heavy carts laden with the milestones. Attached to the chaise was a machine of his invention which registered by the revolution of the wheels the number of miles the chaise passed over. At each mile he halted, and a stone was dropped which was afterward set. The King's Highway, the old Pequot Trail, was thus marked and set. A few of these milestones between Boston and Philadelphia are still standing…
It was deemed most advantageous to a tavern to have a milestone in front of it. Possibly the tale of the stone shown in its lettering urged wayworn travellers to halt and rest within the welcoming door…