Hold History

Primary Sources Bring the Past to Life

Ben’s Collection of Rare Documents and Historic Newspapers

Union Oyster House along Boston’s Freedom Trail is America’s oldest continuously operating restaurant established in 1826. The building itself dates to circa 1716. From 1771 to 1775 a room on the second floor, known as the Heritage Room today, housed the printing shop of Isaiah Thomas. One of Ben’s private tour groups is shown in the Heritage Room. At the center of the photo is Mr. Joe Milano owner of Union Oyster House holding Ben’s original copy of the Massachusetts Spy dated October 17, 1771 printed in this very room. The final photo shows a group of fifth graders on their field trip holding the same newspaper just outside the restaurant. Here is a closeup view of that historic newspaper.

Union Oyster House image
Mass Spy at the Union Oyster House
Union Oyster House Mass Spy
Union Oyster House School Group