That's just one of the many tales coming from within the storied walls of Marblehead's Old Town House, which has hosted Revolutionary plotters, George Washington, the Marquis de Lafayette and others in its nearly three centuries of existence. The building is getting a fresh paint job and other maintenance work - its first spruce-up since it was dressed up to greet the USS Constitution 10 years ago.
"It's one of the most historic structures in the nation," Millet said, pointing out it's been continually used as a voting place since 1727.
Now home to an eclectic collection of museums, the Old Town House has been open to the public more this summer than it has been in years. Most of the museums will remain open in the fall from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday through Sunday; the Grand Army of the Republic and Civil War museums will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today and Saturday, Sept. 15.
Millet, the community services officer, moved into the former farmers market, town hall, courthouse and police station in 2003.
"My intention was to have an office and storage," he said. He paused. He smiled. "Once I got the office here, after a few weeks, I started sensing these Colonial guys yelling at me, saying, 'This is more than just you.'" The police museum followed.
Pam Peterson, director of the Marblehead Museum and Historical Society, said the Old Town House served as a rallying point for soldiers going to war. It also hosted Town Hall, where then-President George Washington was greeted on a visit.
Peterson helps oversee the Grand Army of the Republic meeting hall on the second floor, which still looks as it did when the last of Marblehead's Civil War veterans held their final meeting in the 1930s.
"It's extremely rare," she said. "... There are other GAR posts, but none that remain like this time capsule."
One room features weapons and uniforms, while the other room features memorabilia in what was the GAR meeting room.
In the basement, a guestbook marks a visit by a resident of Lille, France, just before a tour by two Marbleheaders. New Yorkers seem to favor the museum. Cy Fishman, a volunteer in the museum, said Marblehead residents just began to discover the museum in the last few years; English visitors often want to talk about the Colonial history, he said.
The police museum features items as diverse as vintage nightsticks and uniforms, information on the unsolved 1950 murder of schoolteacher Beryl Atherton, and the shotgun used to kill Marblehead police officer George Kelley in 1931.
Also in the basement is a history exhibit of the Marblehead Magicians Gridiron Club run by Esso Haines, who discovered a poster from when Marblehead High football players toughed it out against Port Arthur, Texas.
American Legion Post 32 also maintains a presence in the Old Town House. Photos honor the town's soldiers from World War I and even include an autographed image of Gen. John "Black Jack" Pershing.
Marblehead's Old Town Hall is in Market Square at Washington and Mugford streets. Washington Street was given its name after that president visited the hall. Market Square - actually a triangular area - was given its name after the building hosted a fish and farmers market in its basement.