Greens Farms Tavern?!

Alert “06880” reader Seth Schachter spotted this token for sale the other day, on eBay:

Greens Farms Tavern collage

It was listed by someone in South Carolina, and sold for $25.

What’s much more interesting up here in “06880” is this:

  • What was the Greens Farms Tavern? And where, in when?
  • Who is “EJT”?
  • What are these tokens for, and what would 5 of them get in trade?

If you know anything about the tavern — or the tokens — click “Comments.” The most complete answer wins a free drink, courtesy of “06880.”

Redeemable only at the Greens Farms Tavern.

35 responses to “Greens Farms Tavern?!

  1. Mary ruggiero

    Please forgive the copy and paste..

    In both the UK and the US, during the 18th to 20th centuries, public houses sometimes issued tokens which could be used in payment for future drinks. These tokens were sometimes used in small, family bars where patrons knew each other. They were also used in saloons and hotel bars. When buying a round of drinks for friends, the bartender would give a token to those patrons already having a drink, and collect the full sum from the round-buyer. The owner would collect immediately, and the drinkers would have a token for later use. As the token cost less to produce than the value of the drink, there was a significant profit to the bar owner. Sometimes, drinkers would take the token home, and forget to bring them back. This has been cited as the reason bar owners loved tokens, and they were found in virtually every drinking establishment.

    Tokens were also used as change, where the price of the drink was odd. For example, in America for many years, drinks were two for 25 cents, or one bit (12.5 cents) each. Thus tokens exist with one-bit denominations.

    The early tokens were usually made of brass or aluminum and would have the name or initials of the pub on them, so that they could not be used anywhere else. Often, they had the landlord’s name on them as well. This ensuredf new landlord would not have to honor old tokens. Many small, family bars still use tokens today, but modern tokens are generally made of plastic (brass and aluminum tokens are still made, but as they are more expensive, are less used). Many tokens only had names or initials, and are known as mavericks, as their location is often unknown. Token researchers spend many hours attempting to identify maverick tokens to a specific location, as attributed tokens are therefore desired by collectors of that town. Unidentified maverick tokens are worth minimal sums, where some identified tokens can be worth up to hundreds of dollars.

    Looks like e j t is something something tavern…stay tuned.

  2. Mary ruggiero

    Further info..

    British troops under General Tyron burned about 15 Green’s Farms homes, a number of barns and stores, and the Jennings Tavern on July 8, 1779. The colonial meeting house was also destroyed, but its deacon saved the silver communion servReally.

    Mary ruggiero

  3. Craig Clark

    Mary nailed it.

  4. Way, way back when I was a kid delivering groceries for Gristede Brothers, my mentors at the grocery store told tales of always rushing to get their routes done and then meeting for beers at a tavern in Greens Farms. They called it “Mama’s” (someones – can’t remember last name). It was apparently a small bar in a house I believe was on Maple Lane as it was described to me. These mentors were Bob Skinner, Ray Skinner, Tony Fiore, and other Gristede stalwarts, who later went on to become valued members of the Westport Police Department. It was before my time, but I remember stories of our store manager, John Eickhoff always trying to find the location and catch the guys goofing off. He never did, but that place may well have been the Greens Farms Tavern. Other spots that might qualify include the large house at the corner of Greens Farms Road and Beachside Avenue that later became famous as a cosmetic clinic and then a drug treatment center before reverting to private ownership. I recall the late Lt. George Ward telling me a story as a rookie that the place had been a speakeasy-type gambling house and that he had participated in a raid there when he was a rookie and had been standing under a window when one of the participants tossed a valise full of money out that window. – Dick Alley –

  5. Michael Calise

    The Greens Farms Tavern was on Maple Lane and it is still standing. Almost directly across from the rear entrance to Greens Farms Academy

  6. “06880” readers are astonishing in your knowledge, memory, speed, passion and willingness to help. Thank you!

  7. Jack Whittle

    My guess is this tavern was in the location shown on the F W Beers 1867 map of Westport as the Taylor House, which also shows E. J. Taylor as the owner. I would also suggest that this token is not circa colonial times

  8. Jack Whittle

    Neglected to say the “Taylor House” was on Morningside Drive

  9. William Adler

    Great post, and great to hear from Dick Alley, whom I used to work with at Fairpress 40 years ago! Hi, Dick!

  10. Jacques Voris

    I would also throw out there to remember there used to be a lot more small businesses scattered about town. Christie’s and the Country Store are two surviving examples.

  11. Diane H Silfen

    Great info. I truly enjoyed reading all that .

  12. Virginia Tienken

    According to Bob Duffy the tavern was on Maple Lane and was called Ma Calabonneys (have no idea how it was spelled” but you can get the idea.
    He and his father rode bikes down there every Saturday afternoon and Bob remembers watching Mr. Kriewald drink a beer with an egg in it!

    • Thank You Virginia – It was Ma Calabani’s(not sure if that’s the right spelling either, but you refreshed that memory. – Dick

  13. Hey! If anybody ever runs across a “Banks Tavern (Weston)” token, or any such thing — please do let me know! This has been so interesting for me, the descriptions you are sharing this morning, as I read here in the Banks old Taproom. Cheers!

  14. Mary Ruggiero

    Thank you, Jack. At least it’s good to know Westport had enough watering holes!

  15. Seth Schacter

    Great information everyone !!!!! Fascinating stuff!

  16. I had an aunt born in Westport in 1913 who once told me that there was a Speakeasy, on or near, Maple Lane. I called an aunt born in August 1917 and she remembers a tavern near Green’s Farms Beach that they called “Mama’s” something, but she couldn’t remember the actual name. She said they had good pickled eggs. This is all I can contribute to Dan’s posting. I hope it helps.

    • Jack Backiel

      Opps..I was supposed to put my full name on my last posting. I’m Jack Backiel, and in a subsequent phone call, my aunt confirms the name mentioned by Virginia, although she wasn’t familiar with the exact spelling either.

  17. Jacques Voris

    And a further bit, but not directly related. Westport’s famous “1500 foot rule” was brought about because of the proliferation of “dive” bars

  18. Sandy Soennichsen

    There was indeed a bar/tavern on Maple Lane, 64 to be exact, which is still standing. Used to be a favorite “late night” watering hole for some of Westport’s bon vivants and men in blue. However, I don’t think it issued tokens (lol). With the EJT initials on that particular token, I would venture it’s from the EJ Taylor facility. And remember Westport’s most famous tokens: the ones from Arnie Kaye’s place.

  19. Great to hear Dick Alley is still around… I grew up in Greens Farms in the 50s and 60s …I recognise alot of the names… but never knew about the taverns… the big house at the corner of greens farms rd and beachside rd (its still there up the hill) was a drug rehab called Synanon in the mid 60s… they went back to CA after a couple of years and were a little controversial out there too.

    • Hi Bill- Another Thank You for remembering the name of the Synanon Hose. The WPD should have numerous files on that as I remember it being very controversial at the time. Either before or after Synanon, it housed some kind of clinic where cosmetic procedures were employed to burn off wrinkles. That too became very controversial and many of us on WPD at the time were hired off-duty for security I worked it a few times. It was an easy assignment. I remember that several movie stars came there for the chemical treatments, but privacy was essential. – Dick

  20. Jack Backiel

    Bill, I lived right around the corner from Synanon House on South Morningside Drive, and remember well the hullabaloo surrounding that place. I think the closest house to them were the Saxonmeyers. I haven’t seen them since I left Long Lots, as an 8th grader, in June 1961. Your name doesn’t ring a bell though.

  21. Marcy Anson Fralick -- Staples Class of 1970

    I lived in Westport from 6th Grade Burr Farms through Staples. I knew about Synanon thanks to my cousins. Most of my family lived in Upper Montclair, NJ when I lived in Westport. They called Westport SynCity after Synanon. One of my cousins, who was three years older than me, was a cadet at Culver Military Academy in Indiana, but he’d come home to NJ every year for the holidays and all the grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins would caravan up to our house for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, with Greg in his full Mess Dress. Since our adult relatives smoked, he kept me in line, and scared the life out of me by telling me cigarettes and alcohol (which flowed freely during the holidays) were illegal, and if the cops smelled smoke on me, they’d send me to Synanon where I’d live in a commune, have to shave my head and never talk to my family again. I’d be there until I was 21 doing hard labor by which time my parents would have forgotten all about me. This was when I was about thirteen. By the time I was sixteen I figured out he was full of hooey…and I think Synanon was gone by then. I don’t remember any bars or taverns in the Greens Farms area, but then again, by the time my dad got off the train from NYC, he’d been in the bar car long enough, he didn’t need to stop at a tavern.

    • Peter Jennings Talbot

      Marcy – what a small world…! I am of the Jennings family of Greens Farms, and follow this blog, particularly for the historical bits that arise. I am presently sitting on the porch of our summer house in Culver, Indiana, where my son is finishing his 2nd Classman (junior) year at Culver Military Academy, when I read your post! Love your post and the serendipitous connection!

  22. Maureen O'Driscoll

    While recently at Westport historical society, Bob Weingarten pointed out a tavern on Morningside Dr featured in the exhibit he helped create there.

  23. The tavern on Maple Lane was called Ma Kalabany’s and the eggs came from my grandparents chicken farm which was ( and still is, although it has been renovated many times since then and is no longer a farm ). I used to bring those eggs to the tavern pulling my little red wagon behind me.

  24. Bob Weingarten

    From Judge Adams document of 1951 titled “Ownership of real estate in Westport 100 or more years ago, & Sidelights” there is the following on the State Street East section: “On the east corner of Turkey Hill Road was the Charles Bulkley homestead, bought by him in 1874 of the Aaron Burr heirs. This was a very old house that Burr used as a tavern for many years. I believe that there was also a toll gate at this point. E. J. Taylor bought the property in 1924 and later sold it to Edward P. Mills who put in a road that he called Mills Street and a number of houses were built.”

    What is interesting is that the coin is identified as “Tavern EJT” in Greens Farms. According to Judge Adams E. J. Taylor bought in 1924 but prior to that Adams stated that it was an “old house that Burr used as a tavern…” This was moved to a location on Morningside Drive South.

  25. Nancy Powers Conklin

    Jackie Backiel I know Jacquie Saxonmeyer Kowalsky and she lives in Fairfield. She came to my class’s 45th reunion. She looks terrific!

    • Jackie Backiel

      I didn’t know Jacquie that well, but if you said hello to her for me, I’m sure she’d know who you’re talking about. This would be especially true if you said Jackie Backiel said hello. Not many people call me that anymore. (Only people who knew me in the 1950s and early 1960s call me Jackie.) If you want, send me an e-mail at