Hanover Tavern

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Hanover Tavern
A view looking across Route 301 from the courthouse green to the Hanover Tavern. Patrick Henry stayed at a predecessor tavern when he argued his famous Parson's Cause at the Hanover Courthouse.
Hanover Tavern is located in Virginia
Hanover Tavern
Nearest city Hanover, Virginia
Coordinates 37°45′43″N 77°22′1″W / 37.76194°N 77.36694°W / 37.76194; -77.36694Coordinates: 37°45′43″N 77°22′1″W / 37.76194°N 77.36694°W / 37.76194; -77.36694
Part of

Hanover County Courthouse Historic District[1] (#71000980

Designated CP September 22, 1971

The Hanover Tavern in Hanover Courthouse, Virginia and Hanover County, Virginia, is one of the oldest taverns in the United States. The first tavern was licensed at the site beginning in 1733.

The Hanover County Courthouse is an operating courthouse, the third oldest still in use in the United States. Located along what is now historic U.S. Route 301, its site was adjacent to the original Shelton Tavern. Patrick Henry lodged there during his arguing the Parson's Cause at the courthouse.[citation needed] After a damaging fire, the tavern was rebuilt in 1791 and named the Hanover Tavern.

The present tavern building, restored by the Hanover Tavern Foundation, dates from 1791. In 1953, the tavern was adapted as the first dinner theatre in America; Barksdale Theatre. It was the first performing arts organization in Virginia to seat integrated audiences. Barksdale Theatre merged with Theatre IV in 2012 to become Virginia Repertory Theatre.[3][4] Virginia Repertory Theatre still performs regularly at the Tavern, with dining options provided by the Hanover Tavern Restaurant, open daily for lunch and dinner.

In 1990, the non-profit Hanover Tavern Foundation bought[5] the Tavern and 3.5 acres from the Barksdale Theatre owners and began to raise the needed money to stabilize and restore the aging building. The Foundation's goal was to restore, preserve and utilize the Tavern as an historical, educational, community and cultural resource center for the general public. After successful fundraising campaigns and completion of the restoration, the building reopened to the public in 2005.

The Tavern has been a vibrant center of community life at Hanover Courthouse for almost three hundred years. It remains a community centerpiece through the Foundation's continuing efforts to preserve the building and share its past history.

Today the site offers historical and educational tours and programs like the Heritage Music Series, Harmony in Hanover concerts, and author lectures. The Tavern provides internships for college students as well as arts and craft workshops for children and adults.


  1. ^ "Hanover Courthouse National Historic District National Register Nomination" (PDF). Virginia Department of Historic Resources. Retrieved 3 July 2011. 
  2. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13. 
  3. ^ Prestidge, Holly: [1] Richmond Times Dispatch May 20, 2012; Barksdale, Theatre IV merging Retrieved 2012-05-27
  4. ^ Cushing, Nathan: [2] RVA News May 20, 2012; Barksdale and Theatre IV join to create Virginia Repertory Theatre Retrieved 2012-05-27
  5. ^ http://hanovertavern.org/foundation/foundation-history

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