Located in the center of Old Town Alexandria, Gadsby’s Tavern came of age
with the historic port city and served as a center for commercial, social, and
political activity in the city, Virginia, and the young nation.
is highlighted by its entrepreneurial tavernkeepers and
its famous visitors.
Notable patrons included George Washington, John Adams,
Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, Marquis de Lafayette,
John Quincy Adams, among many other historic figures.
Today, Gadsby’s Tavern, owned and operated by the city, houses a museum and restaurant. It
is a National Historic
Landmark (the highest honor accorded a historic site in the U.S.) and listed
in the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Landmarks Register.
Alexandria, a thriving port until 1861, exported
mostly tobacco and grain. In 1669, John Alexander purchased the
future town site. Tobacco brought Scotch merchants in 1732
who soon erected riverfront warehouses. Virginia's General Assembly authorized
laying out a town in 1748. It was surveyed by the Fairfax County Surveyor
and his 17-year old assistant,
George Washington. Alexandria was formally incorporated and designated
a Port of Entry in 1779. Soon, grain from western counties became a more valuable export than tobacco.
Map by Dominic Bascone, DHR