Saturday, February 15, 2014

Tea Room Postcard #7 - Log House Tea Room (Washington's Birthplace, Virginia)

On Monday we observe Presidents' Day, which was originally established in honor of the birthday of our nation's first president, George Washington. His actual birthday is February 22, a date I always find easy to remember because it's my Daddy's birthday too! (And his middle name is George; I like to think my grandparents were trying to make it easy on those of us who needed help remembering birthdays.) So in honor of President George Washington, I thought I'd share this postcard of the Log House Tea Room at Washington's Birthplace in Virginia.

Now this card was mailed in December of 1940, and I believe it says, "Mrs. Borrows, I'm leaving for N.Y. thursday and will want my dresses wed eve. Hope this is all O.K. I did find the seam binding after much looking. Thanks, Mertie Newsom." The card was mailed to Mrs. W.F. Borrows of Essex Junction, Vermont. Why all the talk about dresses and seam binding? Why didn't Mertie tell us what she ate at the tea room? Now I wasn't surprised to hear the tea room is operating there no more, but I did find a November 2012 press release from the National Park Service which said, “After a 60 year absence, we are starting to replace the bridge from the Memorial Area to the former tea room that we now call the Log House.” I'm glad to hear the tea room is still remembered today! (Also, are you as surprised as I was to find the place where this structure is located is actually called "Washington's Birthplace, Virginia"? If you'd like further explanation, go here and here, history buffs!)


Hi Angela,

As an amateur genealogist, cannot resist the challenge of trying to fill in some of the blanks left by brief postcard messages!

I believe the senders name is Mertie Munson not Newsom (years of practice deciphering records with difficult handwriting). In the 1940 census a Mertie Munson was a widow living on a farm in Colchester, VT with her son and daughter in law. She was working at a "tourist camp". No occupation is listed for 1920 and 1930 but in 1910, with husband and 4 children, her occupation is listed as "dressmaking" at home. Her husband was a farmer. Colchester is not far from Essex Junction. You can even find a picture of Mertie on the "Find A Grave" website. (Did I mention I'm a teeny bit research-obsessive?)

Although the recipient's name does look like Borrows, in all records she appears as Barrows. She was Mary Barrows, the widow of Willard F., living with 2 sons and her occupation in 1940 was dressmaker.

The postmark is from Winooski, VT so who knows when (or even if) Mertie went to the Log House Tea Room! The date sent looks like Dec 17, which was a Tuesday in 1940. Hope the seam binding wasn't for those dresses as it is kind last minute if she wants them by Wednesday!

Probably more than you want to know about Mertie and Mary....

Enjoy your blog, especially the vintage cards,



  1. With tea being so popular now, they should bring back the tea room!

  2. How fascinating!
    I would have loved having tea in a log house. Glad they still remember it.

  3. How fun! I LOVE antique postcards...they have such history and communicate so much to us. Love this one!

  4. What a great card! Makes you wonder what the dresses looked like, right? I go each year to Williamsburg VA as I love the history and the charm. We have tea there as well. My hubby is reading a Washington biography currently and is sharing tidbits of his story and maybe one day we will visit there!

  5. What a fun post card. They should bring the tea room back, it would be fun to visit.

  6. Dear Angela,
    I love all of your old postcards and vintage Valentines! What a great collection. Do I remember your mama found them for you? Maybe not but she was always finding great things for you.
    Happy day, Ruthie

  7. Hello Angela, what a neat postcard. That tearoom looks wonderful. I would have loved to have gone there. Thank you for providing the links - I did not know that was George Washington's birthplace.

    When I was living in Washington DC, it was so nice to go out to Mount Vernon. A beautiful home with a beautiful view of the water. The restaurant had delicious pumpkin soup!

    I always remember George Washington's home had a table 'set' with typical meals of the period (made out of plastic) and they included the recipes - 'dozens of eggs...' those portion sizes were huge!

    I so enjoy your blog. Hope you have a nice weekend,

  8. It's so interesting to find historical artifacts about tea!

  9. Fun bit of history about George Washington and the tea room is charming. You did much better than me in reading the message written on the postcard.

  10. Wow, how delightful to be able to find out all the details on these ladies.


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