Dutch Oven Inn

Dutch Oven Inn
Dutch Oven InnThe Dutch Oven Inn - Looking east on Middle Country Road. The Longwood Public Library is just south of the auto in the road.

The Dutch Oven Inn was located just east of Feruson’s Rainbow Ranch on what locals called the “East Hill”. It was run by Eleanor Ferguson’s grandfather, John Jones.
Excerpt from Eleanor Ferguson’s “My Long Island”

In the early days, I was responsible for the (apple) stand. We did not have a steady stream of customers then, and I could go about my housework and keep an ear cocked for the sound of a car horn. This was not too bad until our second, Anne Van Dyck, came along in 1927 and it was a bit difficult if I had her in the tub or was nursing her. The poor child's lunch was interrupted more than once. When she was born and I was in the hospital for ten days, Badger came out from New York to keep house for Don. As noted earlier, Badger was my grandfather--my mother's father--John Alonzo Jones. He had always been handy around the house, and he liked to cook, so he volunteered to come out and supply three meals a day.
Badger and Billy
Billy Ferguson and his great grandfather John Jones akd Badger. Photo from Ann Ferguson Neuman.

He helped on the stand too, and developed a real interest in the operation. He was a striking old gentleman, a good salesman, and had a way with people. The customers liked him and readily bought the "straight Baldwin" cider that he kept behind the stand for "special customers." In actuality, this was the cider that was beginning to bubble in an interesting way. Don always told people frankly what it was, and many preferred it when it had achieved a bit of sparkle, but this was not Badger's way. He was a bit of a con artist. We were so amused by him that we let him have his fun. By 1930, when William Cashman was born, we had regular help on the stand and life was simpler for me.
Another highly successful establishment was the Dutch Oven Inn. Badger was tired of the city and the New York flat, and was still too young--at eighty--to quit working, so he conceived the idea of building and running an eating place. Albert Bayles helped him with the heavy work of framing, but he finished the rest himself. He built the Dutch Oven Inn around a replica of the Dutch oven in our house, and his menu consisted mainly of dishes he could bake in this oven--baked beans, nut bread, and apple pie. He also served clam chowder.
He developed a small, enthusiastic clientele who found his place attractive and interesting, his food good, and Badger a fascinating character. Nobody knew him as plain John Jones. I don't think any of his customers would have believed that his name was not really Mr. Badger. John Jones just did not fit that striking, white-haired, white-bearded old gentleman. He told a good story and, like my Dad, was not averse to making a good story better. There were many long, leisurely lunches down there, and Badger's Dutch Oven Inn did quite well.
The following is excerpted from a story written by Anne Ferguson Nauman about life in Middle Island.
My great-grandfather, John Alonzo Jones, built Badger’s Dutch Oven Inn on the east edge of our property, just down the hill from the stand. He had help from Albert Bayles with the framing, but he did most of the work himself, even though he was in his eighties. We always called him Badger. His daughter, Catherine Cowles, would come out from the city to help him at the Inn during the summer. They served simple foods that could be cooked in their Dutch oven, which was modeled after the one in our ancient chimney. They served baked beans, delicious nut bread, apple pie, and clam chowder. I liked to walk down the path through the woods from our house to the Inn. There was usually a catbird’s nest in the briar patch along the way. I loved Badger’s nut bread, and liked to help Aunt Catherine roll her cigarettes. She smoked a lot, and had a little device that rolled the tobacco into the little white cigarette papers. I didn’t do a very neat job of it, but it was fun. I always called her my great-half-aunt because she was the half-sister of my mother’s mother.
The Rainbow Ranch, the Dutch Oven Inn was just east of the house.
letter head
Rainbow Ranch letterhead. Donald Ferguson was a trustee for School District 17, treasurers report submitted on May 2, 1934. Letter from the LPL, local history collection.
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