What in Tarnation is Pufferbelly

Pufferbelly Restaurant Sign
Pufferbelly Restaurant Sign

While at Kent State last weekend we were searching for a place to have dinner. My lovely daughter told us that there really is not many restaurants to choose from in the area. Obviously, she does not get off campus much (that is probably a good thing). As we drove around town, I saw this old interesting building. The business was called Pufferbelly. All I could think of is what in tarnation is a pufferbelly? Turns out it is a restaurant in an old train station. We end up having dinner there that night. Food was pretty good (except they messed my steak up), they had an excellent shrimp bruschetta. I would definitely recommend it! So what is the big deal about the Pufferbelly? Did I mention the old train station? The structure itself was amazing. The history that surrounds the area is amazing. I love getting to see these places first hand.

A brief history of Kent:

Kent was originally called Franklin Mills and what is now downtown Kent was once covered in wilderness and 20 foot waterfalls (how I wish I could have seen that). The foundation for the first mill was set in 1805 by John Haymaker. The Cuyahoga River and its power attracted many mill workers and soon people began arriving. One person, Zenas Kent, built a mill on the old Haymaker site. Zenas was instrumental in making Franklin Mills a stop on the underground railroad. He also operated a tannery with the abolitionist, John Brown.

The history is well written already and I do not want to rewrite it. I just wanted to give some basic information. If you are interested in learning more on Franklin Mills / Kent, it can be found on the Pufferbelly website.

Back to Pufferbelly:

Along with their historic building and surroundings, the inside of the building was definitely something that should not be missed by an genealogist or historian. Some random things I noticed.

Louisa St. Clair Chapter of the DAR. This sign hangs in the Pufferbelly, from the brief research I have done it looks like this is a Detroit, MI chapter.
Pufferbelly, hanging carriage
I absolutely love the old carriage that hangs from the ceiling!
Pufferbelly, Hanging canoe
How cool is this hanging canoe? Sorry for the bright lights, there was no way around them.

Watch for my next post as I share more photographs from the Pufferbelly.



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