|Inside the Smoke Shop (courtesy Maynard Historical Society)
The space is currently two stores. Click on photos to enlarge.
From a book "Babe Ruth and the 1918 Red Sox" by Allan Wood: "Babe and Helen Ruth spent the winter of 1917-18 at their farmhouse in
|Outside the Smoke Shop (courtesy Maynard Historical Society)
To the end of his days,
The Maynard Historical Society has a tape of an interview with
So how did that upright piano supposedly end up in Willis Pond? As one version of the story goes, a daytime gathering at the house got overcrowded - the cottage being only 20x50 feet - so Ruth and others pushed the piano down the hill and out onto the ice. There, they continued the party complete with singing and dancing while Helen played the piano. When it was time to move the piano back it was too heavy to push up the hill. So, the Babe simply left the instrument on the ice, where it eventually sank to the bottom.
Where Babe lived off-season
1914-15 Baltimore, with his father, after Babe and Helen married in October 1914
1917-18 Sudbury, in cabin on Butler Road, waterfront on Willis Pond
1918-19 Sudbury?? No mention in various biographies
1919-20 Sudbury?? No mention in various biographies. Traded to Yankees 1/5/1020
1920-21 The Ansonia Hotel, Manhattan, New York
1921-22 The Ansonia Hotel, Manhattan, New York
1922-23 Sudbury, 558 Dutton Road = "Home Plate Farm"
1923+ The Ruths owned the Sudbury house until 1926, but Babe may have been spending
most of his time in NY, only occasionally visiting his wife and daughter
|Babe (center) and his father (right) at his Dad's saloon in Baltimore, taken
December 1915. His father died August 1918 (Internet photo download)
BABE RUTH DRANK HERE?
Lore of Babe Ruth drinking and/or otherwise carousing in Maynard is just that [see newer info at end]. A few neighboring town waterholes - such as the Dudley Chateau in Wayland - claim to have been speakeasies frequented by Ruth back in the day. The timing would have been in the early 1920s - after national Prohibition was in effect. What is missing from this story is confirmation of sites within Maynard that were serving booze back then. The two oldest bars extant - The Pleasant Cafe and Stretch's Tavern (now Morey's) - both postdate the end of Prohibition.
Babe Ruth could have been buying in Maynard and drinking at his Sudbury estate just two miles away. When he bought the farmhouse in 1922 it included a simple cabin on Willis Pond, about half a mile from the house. Babe and his friends could head out there for an evening of drinking, cardplaying and whatnot without disturbing his wife and daughter at the farmhouse. His name for the cabin was "Ihatetoquitit."
Contract Morals Clause
|Babe Ruth and admirers (Internet download)
Evidence for drinking in Maynard
After the articles appeared in the Beacon-Villager I had a phone conversation with Bob Merriam, Maynard High School Class of 1962. Bob told stories about how his grandparents, Niilo and Saimi Hirvonen, knew firsthand about Babe Ruth drinking in Maynard.
|Ruth in 1918 (photo from Library of Congress collection)
This would have been circa 1917-1918, and Ruth would have been in his early 20's at the time. He and his wife were living off-season in a modest rented house in Sudbury - not to be confused with the large house and farm he bought in Sudbury in 1922, when already a Yankee.
*"Bughouse" was turn-of-the-century slang for an insane asylum. Likewise, "Bughouse Corner" was a slang term for street corner locations in cities were orators and prophets of doom would stand on overturned soap boxes and lecture whoever was walking by on their pet topic. How the bar came by its name is anyone's guess.
ANOTHER MAYNARD CONNECTION