Hampton's Historic Lamie's Tavern

By John M. Holman
Hampton History Volunteer,
Lane Memorial Library
Hampton, New Hampshire

Lamie's ca. 1930 at Depot Square

The original Lamie's in Depot Square

Lamie's Tavern in 1938 with the "Goody" Cole Room
to the left of the Tavern.

In the January 22, 1931 issue of Hampton Union, under the headline "HAMPTON'S NEW TAVERN", "The opening of the Lamie's Tavern shows again the faith of a businessman in the future prosperity of Hampton and goes to prove that in the estimation of Albert Lamie, the town is not going backward." "..... There are many fine buildings in Hampton and much valuable property and the Lamie's Tavern is a distinct asset. We wish all possible success for this new adventure."

According to James W. Tucker, historian of note in the seacoast area, in his September 1, 1955 column "OUR TOWN", which appeared for many years in the Hampton Union, he had this to say about the history of LAMIE'S TAVERN, and I quote:

"In 1928, Al Lamie purchased the old Lane estate at the corner of Lafayette Road and Exeter Road. Previous to moving to this new location in 1930, he had this typical early American home raised and under it, he constructed modern kitchens and a beautiful restaurant, which he decorated in the style of the period of the original building. For ten years, Al and Madeline conducted Lamie's Tavern in such an efficient manner that its reputation for genuine New England hospitality and good food spread the length and breadth of the nation.

Lamie's Dining Room

Lamie's Dining Room in the late 1940s,
with Gladys McCormack Ring at right.
[Photo courtesy Beverly Ring Prakop & Lloyd C. Ring, Jr.]

"In 1940, on November 19, the Lamies retired from active business, selling the Tavern to Frank S. and Alfred L. Tower, two Massachusetts brothers who likewise had made an enviable reputation as restaurateurs in their native state. Following the death of his brother, Alfred L. Tower carried on the business in such a manner as to add greatly to the lustre which has always attached to Lamie's Tavern. On May 23 last (1955), after fifteen years of ownership, Mr. Tower sold the Tavern to the Dunfey Corporation, a group of clever brothers, who in a few short years, have assumed an enviable position in the business life of our town."

In 1938, the Hampton Union published a special 300th Anniversary of the settlement of the town of Hampton edition of the newspaper, headlining various businesses in Hampton and Hampton Beach. One such business was the famous LAMIE'S TAVERN and this is what was said of this well-known landmark:

Lamie's North Dining Room, 1938"Lamie's Tavern in Hampton, N.H. on U.S. Route No. 1 enjoys the well deserved patronage of tourists from all parts of the country as well as that of residents in this section who have learned in the 8 years since the tavern has been open just how extraordinarily delicious are the foods so attractively served in the unusually delightful interior with its natural finish and soft harmonizing lighting effects.

"Lamie's Tavern was opened on the 22nd day of January 1931, under the personal management of Albert Lamie, for many years a former resident of Haverhill, who also is ably assisted in the supervision of this famous establishment by his wife, Madeline Lamie. The Tavern is in Hampton center at the junction of Exeter road and U.S. Route 1 (Lafayette Rd).

"The name of Lamie is already known from coast to coast for its turkey, chicken, shore dinners, lunches, salads and refreshments of the highest quality. They specialize in a 65 cent luncheon which is proving especially popular now as it has from the start.

"Four roads meet at the Tavern, one leading to Exeter, one to the beach and the through highway running south to Boston and north to Maine.

"In front and on the right side of the Tavern there is an unusually large parking space, yet there is hardly any part of day or night when this space looks bare and in rush hours it is packed with cars.

Lamie's Soda Fountain

Lamie's Soda Fountain, late 1940s, with Gladys McCormack Ring at center.
[Photo courtesy Beverly Ring Prakop & Lloyd C. Ring, Jr.]

"The main dining room, with its ten extra large and comfortable booths and many well arranged tables occupies the entire right-hand section of the first floor. Much of the lumber used in the building of the entrance, and in the main dining room was salvaged from the old Ashcroft estate and put to use in the building to give a unique expression of old colonial design. There is much in historic taste and beauty as one enters into the dining room, with not a single nail driven by hand in the construction. Everything is duplicated from Colonial fashion. Even the trays are made from boards of the famous old Ashcroft house which has a historic background in itself. The gorgeous dining room is very cleverly arranged with a large and beautiful fireplace over which is hanging a handmade ship, a design of the Norsemen and it is in exact reproduction. Some of the mantel used in the fireplace was introduced from England and imported to its present location in the main dining room of Lamie's Tavern. Wagon wheels of the old oxcart days were taken from their ancient resting places and put into service as chandeliers for the lights.

"There is in addition to the dining room a large section devoted to a most modern lunch counter as well as a first class soda fountain.

"Lamie's Tavern is open throughout the entire year and is an ideal place for special parties, whether large or small.

"One thing is certain when you visit Lamie's, you are sure of a cordial welcome and good food, served in a colonial atmosphere. Mr. Albert Lamie has proven the fact that goodwill such as found at his establishment will draw people back from all parts of the U.S. and they stop repeatedly as they pass through town. Hampton certainly is proud of the Lamie's Tavern and the reputation which it enjoys."

Lamie's being raised, Nov 1930

Lamie's being raised and upgraded, Nov. 1930

The following is from Peter E. Randall's "Hampton: A Century of Town and Beach, 1888-1988". p.614-6:

"When the Hotel Whittier burned, the town was left without a first- quality restaurant for many years. This situation changed in 1931, when Albert Lamie, who had operated a small restaurant in the Village, purchased the E. Warren Lane homestead on the north corner of Lafayette and Exeter roads. He turned the old house around to face Lafayette Road and raised it one story. His new Lamie's, with wood paneling and a huge fireplace, soon became one of the finest and best-known restaurants in New England. For travelers between Boston and Portland, Maine, Lamie's became the place to stop for lunch and dinner, and at times it was open 24 hours a day. Lamie soon had to expand his dining room, so he purchased the former J.A. Lane & Company store {now the "Goody Cole Function Room"}, then The Hampton Union(s) [newspaper] office, to use as a function room. He sold the business in 1940 to brothers Frank and Alfred Tower. After Frank died, Alfred operated the restaurant until 1954, when he sold it to another set of brothers, the Dunfeys, who were to use the property as their base for developing one of New England's largest and most successful innkeeping businesses, combining hotels with real estate and insurance."

The J. A. Lane & Co. store, later The Hampton(s) Union office,
and still later, "The Goody Cole Function Room" of Lamie's.


[Courtesy The Old Salt, date unknown]

"The core of the Lamie's building is a home that was built in 1740, according to historical records. In 1760, the building was acquired by the Lane family, benefactors of the town of Hampton, and remained in their family for four generations. In 1928, Albert and Madeline Lamie purchased the property and converted it in to a restaurant and tavern. The house, which had faced Exeter Road, was lifted and rotated to face Lafayette Road. Underneath it were constructed the kitchen and dining facilities, which form the basis for the restaurant and tavern to this day."

"The Dunfey family purchased the property in 1954 and soon after, added the colonial style rooms of the Inn. Lamie's Inn and Tavern became known nationally and internationally for its fine New England food, warm hospitality and friendly atmosphere. Today, Lamie's continues as a family- run business. The Higgins family purchased the property as a home for their popular restaurant, The Old Salt, after the original location on Hampton Beach was destroyed by fire. The Old Salt's reputation for quality and warmth is the perfect compliment to the Lamie's Inn tradition of excellence."

The obituary of Albert Lamie from the Hampton Union, 8/20/1964:

"Funeral Services Held for Albert Z. Lamie

"Funeral services were held Monday morning for Albert Z. Lamie, 64, founder of Lamie's Tavern. The services were held at the Sturgis Funeral Home followed by a high mass of Requiem from Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Church.

"Mr. Lamie died August 14 at Exeter Hospital following a long illness. A resident of Little Boar's Head, North Hampton, Mr. Lamie was born in Haverhill, Mass., April 8, 1900, the son of Charles and Eloise Lamie.

"He founded Lamie's Tavern in Hampton center and operated it from 1930 until 1940. He was a member of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Church.

" Mr. Lamie is survived by his widow, Mrs. Madeline (Dyer) Lamie; three sisters, Miss Irene Lamie, Miss Theresa Lamie and Mrs. Etta Peront, all of Bradford, Mass."

Ike and family

Former President Dwight Eisenhower and his family enjoy Thanksgiving dinner at Lamie's Tavern
and Motor Inn in 1963. Shown clockwise are grandchildren Mary Jean, Anne and David, Mrs.
Mamie Eisenhower, Eisenhower, granddaughter Susan, their daughter-in-law Barbara Eisenhower
and their son, Col. John Eisenhower.

["A Colt photo"]

Albert Lamie, founder of Lamie's Tavern & Inn,
on front steps of the Tavern, Ca. 1935.
[Photo courtesy A. (Mike) Lamie]

U.S. 1 At Rt. 101C (now Rt. 27) (Exit 2 - I-95)
Hampton, New Hampshire 03842
Tel: (603) 926-8911 -- Open All Year
5 minutes from famous Hampton Beach.
New England Hospitality in The Early American Tradition. 32 air-conditioned rooms with Colonial decor and Early American Appointments. Direct Dial Room Phones, T.V., Tub and Shower combination.
Lamie's Tavern Restaurant -- With its Wide Oak Board Floors, Hand-Hewn Beams and Massive Dining Room Fireplace provides a truly relaxing atmosphere For Comfortable Dining. The Menu Features Traditional New England Cooking.
Your Hosts,
The Dunfey Family

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