Standing behind the courthouse in the Heathsville Historic District, Rice’s Hotel has been a key element of the Northumberland County seat complex since the late 18th century. Offering food, drink, and lodging to visitors at the county seat, the building, originally known as Hughlett’s Tavern for its proprietor John Hughlett, began ca. 1790 as a two-room-plan building. It evolved to its present 110-foot length with its two-level gallery through additions occurring in the 1830s, 1880s, and 1920s. The tavern was purchased by John Rice in 1866 and was operated as Rice’s Hotel until 1920 when converted into apartments. In 1990 Cecelia Fallin Rice donated the property to the Northumberland County Historical Society, which restored the building for use as a museum and special events center.
A 1991 investigation of the grounds revealed numerous associated archaeological features including walkways, post holes, and trash pits, along with 13,000 artifacts. Additional documentation was submitted to amend the existing nomination to include the historic-period archaeology under the area of significance for the Rice’s Hotel property. Rice’s Hotel/Hughlett’s Tavern is considered significant for the period circa 1795, the time it first shows up in the historical record, to circa 1935, when it ceases being used as a hotel.
[VLR Accepted: 12/8/1993; NRHP Accepted: 3/1/1994]
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