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Beer dinner raises funds to support Capt. Leonard House preservation

Date: 8/21/2014

AGAWAM – A Benefit Beer Dinner will bring together local businesses and residents to raise funds for the upkeep and preservation of the Capt. Charles Leonard House.

The Leonard House, 663 Main St., was built in 1805 and served as a stagecoach tavern. Today, the location hosts events such as weddings, anniversary parties, corporate meetings and political gatherings.

The dinner will take place on Sept. 5 from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Advance tickets are required and cost $35 per person. McCarthy Liquors of Agawam and the Boston Beer Company, brewers of Samuel Adams beer, are sponsoring the event.

Phil Kimball, a member of the Leonard House board of trustees, explained that no local, state, or federal money supports the privately owned house. The members sponsor fundraising events to supplement the income earned from hosting special events to pay for the materials and work needed to preserve the historical features of the site.

“We want to keep the place for future generations to appreciate,” he said. “There’s a long list of things we need to repair or redo.”

A description on the Leonard House website ( of the house reads, “The white, two-story, hip-roofed building boasts an impressive facade featuring two-story Doric columns, Palladian window and elliptical fanlight. The Captain Charles Leonard House was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975 and became what the Agawam Historical Commission considers the ‘crown jewel’ of the town’s first historic district when Agawam Center was placed on the National Register in 2001.”

Kimball, who runs a remodeling business, discussed his participation on the board. “The reason I even got on the board is because my area of interest and expertise is the early American era. I have a love of old buildings and history. It was a natural interest, a perfect match,” he said.

“Everybody that rents or participates [in an event hosted at the Leonard House] are preserving it,” Kimball stated. “Without them, there will be no Leonard house in existence; it becomes just another building.”

Kimball stressed the importance of preserving and maintaining the Leonard House. “If a wealthy family owned it, the only way you would see it is if you were friends with the family. If the government owned it, it would become a museum [and would cease to function as a community gathering place]. If we lose it [local ownership] then it becomes a funeral home [or something else],” he said.

Kimball noted that McCarthy Liquors is donating its proceeds to the Leonard House and the Boston Beer Company is donating printing services, gifts and other items for the event.

The five-course meal will be cooked and served by three Agawam eateries. Murphy’s Pub will offer “Rebel Yell” salad, glazed chicken wings, and grilled “Apple Skins;” 1st Stop Café will serve Sam Adams corned beef sliders; and the Main Street Deli will provide homemade macaroni and cheese. The Captain Leonard House will feature a house made pumpkin spice cake for dessert.

Tickets are available at McCarthy’s Liquors, 430 Main St.; Johnny Mac Liquors, 1949 Wilbraham Road, Springfield; or by calling the Leonard House at 786-9421. Seating is limited to 55 people. Attendees must be at least 21.

To learn more about the Capt. Charles Leonard House, log on to, or visit