Spurrier's Tavern

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Spurrier's Tavern
Spurrier's Tavern is located in Maryland
Spurrier's Tavern
Location of Spurrier's Tavern in Maryland
Nearest city Jessup, Maryland
Coordinates 39°10′19.5″N 76°47′11.5″W / 39.172083°N 76.786528°W / 39.172083; -76.786528Coordinates: 39°10′19.5″N 76°47′11.5″W / 39.172083°N 76.786528°W / 39.172083; -76.786528
Built 1771
Demolished 1835 (by fire)

Spurrier's Tavern was a tavern and horse-changing depot which stood by the main road between Baltimore and Washington, D.C. (now U.S. Route 1) from 1771 to 1835 near what is now Jessup, Maryland.[1]


The tavern was built on 190 acres of land patented by Thomas Spurrier as "Spurrier's Lot" which fronted the trail from Philadelphia to Georgetown.[2] During the American Revolutionary War, Spurrier's tavern was significant as a supply and resting point for the Continental Army; George Washington was a frequent visitor, spending a night in the tavern en route to his inauguration.[3][4] It became the central meeting place of the Elk Ridge Militia. In 1781 the depositions of the contested will of James MacGill of Athol were taken at the tavern.[5] Thomas Twining, a British passenger on a stage coach trip from Baltimore to Georgetown in April 1796, described Spurrier's as a "solitary inn" at which they "found the usual substantial American breakfast".[6]


John Spurrier's estate was sold in June 1811 to Rosalie Calvert (1778–1821).[7] After 1812, the Inn was renamed Waterloo by an anti-Napoleon innkeeper; the tavern served stagecoaches bound for Washington, D.C., during the early 19th century.[8][9] On December 7, 1812, the state authorized a company to run the Baltimore-Washington road in front of Spurrier's as a turnpike.[10] John Pendleton Kennedy, a young militiaman during the War of 1812, wrote of his Fifth Regiment's stopping in 1814 "at Waterloo, then McCoy's Tavern" for dinner, ultimately on their way to Bladensburg.[11][12] In 1815, brick stables were built following a hurricane.[10] An 1827 lithograph by T.M. Baynes shows the inn as a tall two-story 3-bay wide structure with front porch, lantern, and sign servicing stagecoaches. The Inn had individual rooms and hot baths for travelers.[13] Following nearly twenty years without a title, the property was recorded in 1832 to the widowed husband of Rosalie, George Calvert (1768–1838) of Anne Arundel County (Liber W.S.G 17 folio 193-195). At its peak before rail traffic in 1835, the Phoenix Stage serviced passengers between Baltimore and Washington with five-hour trips, with the tavern as midpoint. The tavern burned down on July 3, 1835, at a time when Irish and German B&O work teams were fighting and burning each other's camps nearby. The furniture was saved by stage passengers at the inn.[14][15][16]

In 1836, George Calvert's estate was divided three ways, giving his daughter Caroline the 516-acre (209 ha) Spurrier property. Caroline's husband protested that the property was not equally valuable since the fire at the tavern.[17] In 1841, as a supplement to the act that passed nearly thirty years prior, the State of Maryland recognized the Waterloo property along the Baltimore Washington Turnpike road as belonging to Caroline M[aria] Morris, for purposes of coordinating any route alterations. Morris owned what was then known as Waterloo farm; the prior act referred to the property as McCoy's Tavern.[18] Morris (née Calvert, 1800–1842) had married Thomas Willing Morris (1792–1852) on June 19, 1823.[19]


In 1917, the state of Maryland bought parts of two former farms adjoining the Baltimore and Washington boulevard at Waterloo, totaling 530 acres, for the use of the Maryland House of Correction. Referred to as Shamrock farm and Waterloo farm, both were described favorably by the Maryland State College of Agriculture (renamed a few years later as the University of Maryland).[20] According to a 1980 inventory of the Maryland House of Correction by the Maryland Historical Trust, "farming was discontinued during the 1960s and lands were sold off to the Maryland State Police, the Patuxent Institution, the Correctional Institution for Women and the Correctional Camp Center, and the Maryland Wholesale Produce Market complex on the southeast corner of Route 1 and Route 175."[21]


The former location of Spurrier's Tavern is now the major intersection of U.S. 1 and Maryland Route 175 in Jessup, Maryland. A Holiday Inn now occupies the site, which bears Maryland historical markers. At least three such markers have been posted along these roads. The text of the markers has changed slightly over the years, adding some detail and removing notice of its being the place where George Washington's horse died.[22] Washington mentioned Spurrier's several times in his diary entries.[23]

Historical marker text[edit]

U.S. 1 northbound, north of MD 175
Spurrier's Tavern 'Waterloo' – In 1771 William Spurrier opened a tavern at the intersection of the main routes linking Baltimore, Washington and Annapolis. Now US 1 and MD 175. As Traffic increased it served as the first horse changing station for stages southbound from Baltimore; by 1811 the stables offered lodging for 80 horses. After 1815 owner Rosalie Siers Calvert of Riversdale, a Belgian native, renamed the tavern 'Waterloo' to celebrate Napoleons defeat. In 1835 A fire and competition from the new railroad put an end to the tavern. But the local area is still known by the name. – Maryland Historical Trust, Maryland State Highway Administration (photo)
Spurrier's Tavern – Thomas Spurrier's stood at nearby crossroads connecting two important overland routes in colonial days (now U.S. 1 and MD. 175.) George Washington stopped here at least 25 times between 1789 and 1798. His diary noted July 18, 1795: "Dined and lodged at Spurrier's where my sick horse died." Waterloo Inn later occupied the site, but this "popular resort" did not survive into the 20th century. – Maryland Bicentennial Commission, Maryland Historical Society (reported missing and replaced)
MD 175 eastbound, west of U.S. 1
Spurrier's Tavern Stood On This Site – George Washington stopped here at least twenty five times between 1789 and 1798. On July 18, 1795, his diary says: "Dined and lodged at Spurrier's where my sick horse died." – State Roads Commission

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Francis Asbury. Journal of Rev. Francis Asbury: Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal ..., Volume 3. p. 58. 
  2. ^ Barbara Feaga. Howard's Roads to the Past. p. 66. 
  3. ^ Patricia Brady. Martha Washington: An American Life. 
  4. ^ "This Month in County History: George Washington's Horse Died Here". Baltimore Sun. July 22, 2005. Retrieved November 9, 2013. 
  5. ^ Barbara Feaga. Howard's roads to the past. p. 67. 
  6. ^ Holmes, Oliver W. (1948). "Stage Coach Days in the District of Columbia". Records of the Columbia Historical Society. 50. Historical Society of Washington, D.C. pp. 11–12. ISBN 978-0-8139-0866-3. JSTOR 40067314. 
  7. ^ Margaret Law Callcott. Mistress of Riversdale: The Plantation Letters of Rosalie Stier Calvert. p. 239. 
  8. ^ Richard Brooks (1812). Darby's Universal gazetteer, or A new geographical dictionary. p. 864. 
  9. ^ Joshua Dorsey Warfield (June 24, 2010). The founders of Anne Arundel and Howard Counties, Maryland. Nabu Press. p. 342. ISBN 978-1-1755-4354-7. 
  10. ^ a b Rosalie Stier Calvert; Margaret Law Callcott. Mistress of Riversdale: the plantation letters of Rosalie Stier Calvert, 1795–1821. p. 306. 
  11. ^ Marine, William Matthew (2009) [First published 1913]. The British Invasion of Maryland, 1812–1815. Heritage Books. pp. 105, 108, 112. ISBN 978-0-7884-0918-9. Retrieved November 11, 2013. 
  12. ^ Muller, Charles Geoffrey (2003) [First published 1963]. The Darkest Day: The Washington-Baltimore Campaign During the War of 1812. University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 107. ISBN 978-0-8122-1843-5. Retrieved November 11, 2013. 
  13. ^ Laura Rice. Maryland in Prints 1743–1900. p. 74. 
  14. ^ "unknown title". Baltimore American. July 4, 1835. [not specific enough to verify]
  15. ^ Columbia Historical Society (1952). Records – Columbia Historical Society of Washington, Volume 50. p. 35. 
  16. ^ Hezekiah Niles; William Ogden Niles; George Beatty; Jeremiah Hughes (1835). Niles' Weekly Register. 47. H. Niles. p. 272. Retrieved November 9, 2013. 
  17. ^ Margaret Law Callcott. Mistress of Riversdale: The Plantation Letters of Rosalie Stier Calvert. p. 384. 
  18. ^ "140". Laws of the State of Maryland. 592. 1841. pp. 117–118. Retrieved November 11, 2013. 
  19. ^ Johnson, Robert Winder (1905). The ancestry of Rosalie Morris Johnson: Daughter of George Calvert Morris and Elizabeth Kuhn, His Wife. Ferris & Leach. pp. 166, 169. Retrieved November 11, 2013. 
  20. ^ Annual Report of the State Board of Prison Control. Baltimore: The Sun Book and Job Printing Office. 1917. pp. 125–128. 
  21. ^ "Maryland House of Correction" (PDF). Maryland State Archives. December 1980. Retrieved November 11, 2013. 
  22. ^ "The Historical Marker Database". J.J. Prats. Retrieved November 13, 2013. 
  23. ^ The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography. XXI. Philadelphia: Historical Society of Pennsylvania. 1897. pp. 21, 23, 25, 26, 276, 280. LCCN 05035750. OCLC 1762062. OL 7139786M.