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National Road Inns & Taverns

Inns and taverns are the most celebrated commercial property types from the heyday of the National Road. They reflect the extraordinary historical development of the road as a route for immigration and commerce in Ohio during the early 19th century, when travel was slow and arduous—by horse, wagon, carriage or stagecoach over a rough and unpredictable road.

An inn or tavern was typically located about every 10 miles or so—about one day’s travel by horse and wagon. Wagon stands or drovers’ inns were typically located on the outskirts of towns where there was ample space to house the draft animals in a pasture or corral. Often a barn or stable was associated with the inn. Taverns or inns where the stage horses were kept and the stagecoach passengers slept and ate were sometimes called “stage houses.”

Large numbers of inns and taverns existed along the National Road in its heyday; but less than 40 remain today. These buildings remain in use as museums, restaurants, commercial businesses, and private homes. Many are well preserved and cared for, while others are less so. The city of Whitehall, was named after a National Road tavern: Ye Olde White Hall Tavern.

Red Brick TavernRed Brick Tavern in Lafayette, Madison County was established in 1837 and is still used as a restaurant. The Red Brick Tavern is a good example of this historic building type along the National Road Scenic Byway. Even though they served a commercial purpose, early inns and taverns appear more residential than commercial. Typical is a gable-roofed, two-story main block that is set with its long side to the street. Chimneys are placed at each end or in the center, reflecting the location of fireplaces that were essential to heating and cooking. The front or facade usually has regularly spaced window openings on both first and second floors. Most common are five bays (or windows and doors) with the entry door at the center. The entry may be no wider than the door itself, or it may have a more elaborate surround. Front porches were sometimes added later, but most early 1800s inns and taverns did not have them originally. Additions often were made to enlarge the most successful of the inns, typically through a rear “ell” that would join the main building at a 90-degree angle. Located in London Ohio: 1700 Cumberland St. (US 40) London, OH 43140 (800) 343-6118 (740) 852-1474.

Pennsylvania House

Pennsylvania House stands today much as it did a century and a half ago with its 4 porches and 23 rooms. Some of the rooms have been furnished as they would have been in the early periods of the America expansion. Still others have artifacts and exhibitions giving the visitor a look into everyday life along the National Road. A guest can see a doctors office as well as a room for drovers bedding down for the night. There is also a gift shop and general store for the shopper in the family.

Located just west of downtown Springfield: 1311 West Main Street Springfield, Ohio 45504

Headley Inn

The Headley Inn is a solid stone building, restored with historic detail including blown glass windows, hand-stenciled baseboards from 1830, 6 fireplaces. A modern addition blends perfectly with historic building and provides all the comforts of modern living. The Inn is currently fully furnished with period antiques.

Located west of Zanesville: 5345 West Pike, Zanesville Ohio 43701

Other taverns and inns along the pike include: Black Horse Inn, Smith House, and the White Swan Tavern.