Today I want to bring you inside the haunted and historic North Plank Road Tavern in Newburgh, New York. When a friend first suggested I visit this tavern, they told me to sit at the bar and ask the bartender about the history here. And boy, did that pay off. Not only did the bartender (who daylights as a teacher tell us about the tavern, but staff and patrons gave us tours, told us stories, and even took us behind the scenes.)
The first thing you notice when you walk inside is the stunning wood-carved bar. During our visit, the bar quickly became covered with framed photographs that the staff pulled out to show us.
Initially built in 1801, the tavern functioned as a stagecoach stop along a plank road. It’s one of the oldest buildings in the area. A plank road was literally built of plants from halved trees. The benefit of this sort of road was to combat the muddy and slippery terrain and provide a more secure path for vehicles.
An interesting side note is that instead of paying taxes, some local residents would elect to perform labor for the town. A lot of women and children ended up working on the plank road in Newburgh. After the introduction of railroads to the area, The North Plank Road Tavern became a boarding house as well. There are rooms upstairs that are still used for hotel rooms even today.
As historic buildings often do, the ownership of the tavern changed hands several times over the years. The tavern remained operational during prohibition (if you know what I mean. During prohibition, a woman named Mrs. Sauer ran the speakeasy here. One story from a Highland Currents article accounts that one evening Mrs. Sauer’s boyfriend insulted her in front of her son Frederick. A full-grown man at that point, Frederick punched his mother’s boyfriend so hard he broke his neck. They buried him behind the barn.
It became a hangout spot for Mobster Dutch Shultz, who lived nearby. And during a period of time, a man nicknamed “Uncle Frank,” also associated with the Mob ran the tavern. At this time, there were also slot machines on the upper level. The upper levels were also converted into a brother, only accessible by a side staircase. I should also mention that the food and drinks here were amazing, reason enough to visit not to mention the history and potential ghost sightings.
On display in the bar, patrons will find counterfeit gin labels. So let’s talk hauntings. It’s claimed by many that Mrs. Sauer is known to make an appearance from time to time. This is even printed on the menus, along with the history of the tavern.
I can't recommend visiting this Tavern enough!