Harris, Public Information Officer, 804-365-6402
Hanover Tavern Structure Scientifically Dated To 1791
dating analysis of the interior wood in selected portions of Hanover
Tavern has concluded that the oldest part of the existing structure
dates back to 1791.
Dendrochronologists hired by the Hanover Tavern Foundation took
multiple corings from support timbers in various sections of the
famous historical building. The oldest section was found to be the
north end, which was originally built as a private home and faced
west, away from Rt. 301.
The findings of the dendrochronologists, Dr. Edward R. Cook and
William J. Callahan, are bolstered by the fact that the dimensions
of the oldest part exactly match those found on an 1801 map.
The original Hanover Tavern is believed to have been built around
1733. Patrick Henry lived there when he attained fame in the "Parson's
Cause" case, and during the American Revolution, Cornwallis
and his staff are believed to have quartered there.
George Washington is believed to have had breakfast in Hanover
Tavern en route to his fateful rendezvous with Cornwall in 1781.
No one knows what happened to the original structure, but early
in the 19th century, the private home evolved into the Hanover Tavern
we now know.
The L-shaped south portion was dated to 1822, a date confirmed
by tax records showing an increased assessment in 1823 due to new
construction the previous year.
The two structures were joined about 1832, according to the analysis,
to create one large building.
During that era, Rt. 301 was an old stage road that served as a
main transportation route between Washington and Richmond, and the
Tavern was a frequent stopping point for many travelers.
Between Oct. 16, 2000 and March 31, 2001, 34 wood core samples
were taken from timbers representing the three phases of construction.
The Hanover Tavern Foundation purchased the property in 1990 and
has raised more than $3 million in gifts and pledges to stabilize
and restore the building. Foundation members are currently attempting
to raise $2 million to renovate the building so that it can be used
as a center for performing arts, education (including a History
Discovery Center) and tourism.
Earlier in 2001, Hanover Tavern was the recipient of the County's
first Historic Preservation Matching Capital Fund allocation.