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The Building's Past

Let's journey back in time to explore the rich heritage of Emerson's Ordinary.

Built in 1710, our building has stood the test of time, preserving the essence of colonial life. As you gaze at the pictures, you'll notice that not much has changed on the outside since its days as Emerson's Ordinary.

In the mid to late 1700s through the 1800s, Emerson's Ordinary was bustling with activity as both a Tavern and an Inn. Back then, Ordinaries were vital establishments, offering weary travelers a place to rest and replenish with food and drinks at a fair price set by an ordinance.

Downstairs, where you now dine, was the lively Tavern where locals and travelers alike gathered for refreshments and conversation. This very spot witnessed significant historical events, serving as a hub for the community.

Upstairs, now accessible only to employees, were three bedrooms where travelers would retire for the night. Imagine, five guests sharing one room, fitting 15 guest total. Safety measures were put in place to protect against theft by locking them in at night. And speaking of safety, even in those times, precautions were taken. Each room had ladders by the windows, providing a means of escape in case of fire, underscoring the importance of guest safety.

Emerson's Ordinary is more than just a building; it's a cornerstone of Tappahannock's history. We're incredibly fortunate to have this piece of the past still standing, offering us a glimpse into bygone days.

If you're intrigued by this slice of history, we invite you to visit us at the Tavern and explore the Essex County Museum!

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