Raleigh Tavern Entrance
Exterior of the Raleigh Tavern, view of the front entrance looking north from across Duke of Gloucester Street, 1933. The tavern's signboard stands in the foreground to the left, while in the background, a gowned female costumed interpreter (once referred to as a "hostess") is shown standing to the right of the building's entrance. A lead bust of Sir Walter Raleigh, the noted navigator-explorer, is featured in the broken pediment above the tavern's front doors.
The Raleigh Tavern was the frequent scene of both jollity and consequence, and was "....the foremost of Williamsburg's taverns in the eighteenth century. Established about 1717, the Raleigh Tavern grew in size and reputation through the years. Letters, diaries, newspaper advertisements, and other records indicate that the Raleigh was one of the most important taverns in colonial Virginia. It served as a center for social, commercial, and political gatherings; small private and large public dinners; lectures and exhibitions; and auctions of merchandise, land, and the enslaved." Burned to the ground in 1859, the tavern was reconstructed from published illustrations, insurance policies, and archaeology that uncovered most of the original foundations.
(Source: Michael Olmert and Suzanne Coffman, Official Guide to Colonial Williamsburg [Williamsburg, VA: The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, 2007], 60).