EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


October 28, 2008

Historic Kimball Tavern in Haverhill to be auctioned off

Haverhill landmark goes to highest bidder this month

HAVERHILL — Available to the highest bidder: A 3,900-square-foot Colonial restaurant/bar on a quarter acre in Bradford. Spacious rooms, four fireplaces, wide pine floors, many original features, long and distinguished history — and possibly haunted.

The dark brown, clapboard building at the corner of Salem and South Main streets, known as Kimball Tavern, was built around 1690 by Benjamin Kimball. It is where farmers and mill owners met to found Bradford College in 1803.

After unsuccessfully offering the property on the open market for almost a year, the owners of the building will offer it up at an auction Nov. 20, said Michael Chang, vice president of owner Angelo Gordon & Co. of New York.

The tavern is the company's last real estate holding in Haverhill. The firm sold the main Bradford College campus to Zion Bible College a year ago.

The tavern, which also is listed on the state's register of historic structures, is zoned for single-family homes and is assessed at $579,000, according to city tax records. However, there is no minimum price the property must fetch to be sold at the auction at 1 p.m. on the tavern grounds.

"Somebody could get quite a bargain," said Justin Manning of JJManning Auctions, the company overseeing the auction. "These kind of auctions are scary for sellers, but buyers love them because the buyers set the market price. The property will be sold that day to the highest bidder. There's no negotiating and no catch."

The tavern has been the subject of folklore and whispered tales of strange lights being seen inside and ghosts haunting its halls and rooms.

Anyone may bid on the tavern by showing up with a $10,000 certified bank check, Manning said. Only real estate brokers looking to make a commission or someone who wants to bid but is unable to attend the auction in person needs to contact the auction company in advance, he said.

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