What began as an extension of David Howe's family home in 1716, the Inn has thrived through years of growth and expansion and survived because of its important history and beautiful setting.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow visited the Howe Tavern in 1862. Inspired by the coziness of the Inn’s atmosphere and pastoral landscape, Longfellow wrote a series of poems focused on a group of fictitious characters that regularly gathered at the old Sudbury tavern. The poems were published in 1863 as the Tales of a Wayside Inn.
In 1923, automobile manufacturer Henry Ford bought the Inn from Cora Lemon. Ford used his vast resources to acquire acreage, buildings, and antiquities. With the intention of creating a living museum of Americana, he expanded the property to 3,000 acres in the towns of Sudbury and Marlboro. He added buildings to the property including the one-room Redstone School (relocated onto the property in 1925), a fully functioning Grist Mill (built in 1929), and the Martha-Mary Chapel (built in 1940 from trees felled in the historic Hurricane of 1938).