- Written by webmin
From Mike Eldred, our man in neighboring Wilmington, comes this undated shot of the Childs Tavern Garage, located right on busy Main Street and noteworthy for its signage advertising both Dodges and Fords. Mike notes that this was likely the first dealership in Wilmington, and possibly the first in the entire Deerfield Valley. The two cars on the right we can positively identify as Model Ts, but we’re not so certain the touring that has attracted Wilmingtonians like flies to sugar is either a Ford or a Dodge. As for when the photo was taken, the 48-star flag sets a timeframe of 1912 to 1958. Dodge Brothers went into business building cars in November 1914, and the rightmost Model T can be no earlier than a 1917 model nor any later than a 1923 model (and possibly no later than a 1920 model due to the metal strip covering the top’s bottom edge).
We do know precisely where the dealership stood, however. As Mike wrote, “At the bottom of the Dodge Brothers sign, you’ll notice that it says ‘Childs Tavern Garage.’ I believe this was originally the Childs Tavern Livery. It’s located next to the Vermont House, across the street from the Childs Tavern, now known (and has been known for several decades) as the Crafts Inn. The garage building is now Bartleby’s Books.”
Missing the eastern-most window nowadays, we see. Interestingly, while researching the Childs Tavern Garage, we came across the following note in the May 23, 1912, issue of “The Automobile:”
Hotel Changed to Garage – Extensive alterations have been started on the old Vermont House at Wilmington, Vt., transforming it into a public garage with a machine shop on the first floor and storage accommodations on the floors above.
However, the Vermont House remains standing today. It’s entirely possible “The Automobile” mistook the Childs Tavern for the Vermont House.