Long-Vacant 19th Century O’Shea Mansion in Peabody Transformed Into The Bell Inn & Tavern

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PEABODY, MA– The Bell Inn & Tavern announced that it officially opened to the public beginning Tuesday, October 10 for dinner and drink service.

The opening culminates a months-long effort by developer Ed Greeley to convert the historic O’Shea Mansion located at 2 Washington St. in downtown Peabody into an 8-room boutique inn, tavern-style restaurant, basement speakeasy, private event space, and full-service patio. The Bell Inn & Tavern’s opening schedule is as follows:

October 10: Open pen for dinner and drinks

October 16: Open for both lunch, dinner and drinks

October 22: First day of Sunday brunch.

The property has a storied history and is considered a gem of the state’s North Shore region. In 1740, the original structure on the property was built by Francis Simmons and housed The Bell Tavern, a notable central meeting location during the Revolutionary War. In 1775, local Minutemen gathered in the courtyard before marching off to the Battles of Lexington and Concord.

In addition to this piece of Americana, the original tavern also served as the backdrop for one of America’s best-selling novels, “The Coquette or, The History of Eliza Wharton.” by Hannah Webster Foster. This story was considered to be one of America’s first tabloid scandals.

“This property has always been part of Peabody and the North Shore; it’s a part of the region’s history dating back to the American Revolution,” said The Bell Inn & Tavern Owner Ed Greeley. “The current building has been vacant for several years, and it’s too beautiful and means too much to this community to sit in disrepair. Now, it’s going to be a home away from home for both locals and visitors – a place where people can catch up with old friends over delicious food, host a special event, or just rest their head for a few nights.”

In the 1890s, a gentleman by the name of J.B. Thomas acquired the site of the former tavern and constructed the current building as a mansion for his grandson. Thomas made sure the home was designed with all the elegance of the time period, complete with a carriage house. The property served as the Thomas family home for nearly two decades until it was sold to the O’Shea Family. The historic property has since changed hands multiple times; it was converted into a furniture store, and later was known as the Pioneer House, a nonprofit center for people living with mental health conditions.

For the last several years, the property sat vacant with the City of Peabody as steward until Ed Greeley was brought in with a vision to restore the property to its former elegance. Greeley isn’t a stranger to revitalizing challenging properties. He currently owns Mills 58, a trio of historic tannery buildings on Pulaski Street in Peabody that he’s successfully turned into a collaborative campus that is home to 75 small businesses, including antique stores, boutique shops, eateries, offices, fitness studios, and more.

With all of the unique attributes that this project had to offer, Greeley couldn’t resist the opportunity to resurrect the beautiful property at 2 Washington St. In cooperation with the City of Peabody, Greeley acquired the property and assembled a robust team of professionals to help bring the vision of The Bell Inn & Tavern to life. One of those professionals was close friend and restaurateur Jeff Cala. Known for his work with Serenitee Restaurant Group, Cala has opened a number of notable locations on the North Shore including Maggie’s Farm, Dire Wolf Tavern, Hale Street Tavern, and Alchemy at Lynnfield’s Market Street.

“We’ve hired an energetic, creative culinary team that knows just the ingredients, entrees, and beverages that people in New England love,” said restaurateur Jeff Cala. “Of course, we’ll add our own touch and experiment a bit, but our menus honor the North Shore’s past and present.”

The Bell Inn & Tavern kitchen has created menus that celebrate the flavors of New England comfort food, from burgers and baked clams, to steaks and grilled fish. The wine list highlights both American and French wines, as an homage to the area’s American Revolution history. The beer and spirit lists feature local breweries and distilleries from across New England.

The Bell Inn & Tavern parking lot on Washington Street is still under construction and is expected to open in December. In the meantime, restaurant and speakeasy guests are encouraged to utilize street parking and the municipal parking lots in downtown Peabody.

The Bell Inn & Tavern will host a ticketed Halloween party on Saturday, October 28 to properly welcome guests to the restored property.

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