Our initial reaction to news that Jamie Crowley is renovating the Captain Kidd Restaurant was that of an old sentimentalist. Ye gods man! The place is steeped in history. A thousand stories could be told. And Joe Miron’s mural: would that go out with the new?
Turns out that Mr. Crowley doesn’t plan to gut the place; the renovations will put more emphasis on the place as a restaurant than a barroom. He will add amenities and brighten the place up. That is a smart move. Mr. Crowley is not in business to keep old sentimentalists happy but to serve a modern clientele. They want good food and good views.
And he also intends to keep the character of the place, and that means keeping Joe Miron’s mural and the old bar.
Newcomers won’t likely recognize Joe Miron’s name; he died almost 35 years ago. But from the mid 1940s into the 1970s Joe Miron figured prominently in Falmouth’s social scene and art scene. He was known at the painting bartender. He entertained locally but his art made its way to the far corners of the earth.
Tom Vahey described him in a eulogy after his death in 1980 as “an artist, bartender, philosopher, bon vivant, world traveler, raconteur, restaurateur and part-time baby sitter…The word ‘character’ is loosely applied to many people, but Joe was the walking definition.”
Later, Enterprise columnist Hugh McCartney remembered Joe. “When we think of those wild, free and happy days in Falmouth after the war, none of us will ever forget Joe Miron and the significant role he played in the town’s past, particularly in the Heights, every soft, summer day at six bells.”
And the old bar is another story in itself. It was salvaged from the Old Rockingham Hotel in Lowell and installed in the Kidd in 1946. It was at that time at least 82 years old, according to a story in the Enterprise, which also described it as “one of the most imposing bars on Cape Cod.” The woodwork is hand-carved oak and mahogany. The panels between the mirrors over the bar were painted by Lloyd T. Nightingale, another Falmouth artist.
The fieldstone fireplace is another old and fine feature of the room. When the restaurant opened in 1946, the Enterprise described the mantel over the fireplace as a “scarred timber from the deck of an old whaler.”
Many a summer visitor, and perhaps resident, could walk by these landmarks without noticing them. They might find it of interest if Mr. Crowley drew attention to them and took advantage of his historical assets.