The Blue Eagle Tavern is very rich in local & U.S. history. It has been at its current location since the late 1800s when a barn was hauled by horse and wagon to a dirt road intersection at the top of Italy Hill and established an inn, where hospitality services were provided to stage coaches and Pony Express carriers navigating the scenic mountains and valleys between Canandaigua and Keuka lakes. At that time Italy Hill was a thriving community with a lumber mill, a blacksmith shop and a factory producing baskets and cheese, which later burned to the ground in a massive fire that somehow left the inn standing.
On July 20, 1933 the head of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s National Recovery Administration announced that a picture of a blue eagle displayed by businesses would thereafter symbolize private enterprise compliance with and support of the National Industrial Recovery Act (“NIRA”), which was part of President Roosevelt’s New Deal, aimed at revitalizing our country’s economy during the Great Depression. The very next day the name was changed from the Italy Hill Inn to the Blue Eagle Restaurant. Five months later Prohibition was repealed on December 5, 1933, shortly following which the name was changed for the second time to the Blue Eagle Tavern.
In the early 1970s a local up-and-coming musician by the name of Bat McGrath performed at the tavern regularly. So moved by the atmosphere and country folk clientele was that in 1974 he wrote the song Blue Eagle which became the title track to his fourth album, From the Blue Eagle. Following the album’s release in 1976 and the song’s nation-wide radio airplay, people from as far away as Florida would stop in just to have their picture taken under then-famous tavern’s roadside sign and to stop inside, so many that the jukebox “wore out four records” said then-owner Lorraine Cayward.
In February of 2012 the famous and historic Blue Eagle Tavern, by then a severely neglected building in need of extensive repair, was purchased by Floridian Cindy Tucker, who saw its potential and set out strong to bring it back to life. After a thorough rehab of the building, the Blue Eagle Tavern celebrated its hugely successful grand reopening on June 30, 2012 with a widely publicized performance by none other than Bat McGrath.