Weary travelers on River Road, a leg of the principal nineteenth-century stage route between New York and New Orleans, could stop here for a respite from the toil and hazards of traveling the rough roads of Southside. Initially, the building consisted of a one-and-a-half-story ordinary operated by John Dodson. In 1807, Samuel Carter, who probably built the two-story addition, bought the place and obtained a license to operate an overnight stage stop. After falling into bad condition, the tavern was restored in 1972–1973 at the same time as the house. The original one-and-a-half-story, weatherboarded cottage section has an exterior-end chimney with projecting pents, and the double-pitched roof covers an inset porch with flush siding on the front wall. The two-story, double-pile addition has a side-hall plan reflected in the two exterior-end chimneys. A secondary enclosed stairway leads to the private quarters of the owner. Carter's Tavern is one of the few survivors of Virginia's long chain of stage stops that are fast disappearing.
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