The Tavern was restored in the 1940s to an idealized version of a true colonial tavern, using paneling and other architectural components from other antique buildings to set the stage for colonial interpretation. Built in 1750 in Wells, Maine, just north of York, Jefferds Tavern was originally located on the King's Highway, a stage and mail route between Portsmouth and Portland. It was first owned and operated by a locally prominent innkeeper named Captain Samuel Jefferds. The tavern descended in his family until the dilapidated building was acquired by architect and historian William E. Barry in 1925. After years of training in Boston, Barry returned to his native Kennebunk to live and work as an architect and at his own expense had the tavern completely restored. Influenced by 1920s colonial revival literature and publications, Barry's primary model for the project was the Wayside Inn in Sudbury, Massachusetts. That famous building was made familiar by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's collection of poems, "Tales of a Wayside Inn." Longfellow's poetry is known to have effected Barry as well as many other readers with its evocative nostalgia for a romanticized rural domestic life.