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The Tavern

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1779. 222 E. Main St.

One of the modest places for respite available to early travelers on the Wilderness Road, this two-story gable-roofed building is probably the oldest standing structure in Abingdon. It was constructed during the settlement period to serve as a residence for the innkeeper and as a tavern and inn. Its dual purpose is indicated by the two front entrances, one for the residence and one for the tavern. Beneath its nineteenth-century stucco, the tavern's first story is stone and second story is log. The first post office on the western slopes of the Blue Ridge Mountains was established in the east wing of this building. During the Civil War the tavern served as a field hospital for Confederate and Union soldiers. From 1858 to 1965, the tavern was owned by African Americans Thaddeus and Mary Jane Harris and their descendants. Shop-style projecting windows were added in the 1980s to the first story when the roof was wood-shingled.

The five-bay western section (1846) of the three-story brick building at 208 E. Main was constructed as a hotel. A dry goods store occupied the three-bay eastern side. The building is a late example of Federal styling.

Writing Credits

Anne Carter Lee


What's Nearby


Anne Carter Lee, "The Tavern", [Abingdon, Virginia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Virginia vol 2

Buildings of Virginia: Valley, Piedmont, Southside, and Southwest, Anne Carter Lee and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2015, 467-468.

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