Standing next to the Isle of Wight County courthouse, Boykin’s Tavern illustrates the functional relationship such early hostelries had with rural county-seat complexes. The tavern’s original core was constructed around 1780 as a residence for Francis Boykin, a Revolutionary War officer, county clerk, and justice of the county court. In 1800 Boykin gave land for the relocation of the county seat from Smithfield in return for permission to erect the new county buildings here. After Boykin’s death in 1804, his son Francis Marshall Boykin enlarged the tavern by raising it to two full stories and adding the gambrel roof wing. The portico was probably also added at this time. Despite further changes made ca. 1900, the tavern retains exceptionally fine 18th-century paneling in two of its rooms. Now owned by the county and included in the listed Isle of Wight County Courthouse Complex, Boykin’s Tavern operates as Isle of Wight County’s Department of Economic Development and is open to the public for self-guided tours.
Many properties listed in the registers are private dwellings and are not open to the public, however many are visible from the public right-of-way. Please be respectful of owner privacy.
VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark
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