Days Gone By - stories from the past

Can you imagine how difficult it was to travel in early Alabama? Here is where people stayed

Taverns and Stage Stops were the hotels and motels in early Alabama – here is where many were located. I wonder how many buildings still exist today. Comment below if you know of any buildings still standing.


This List of Taverns and Stage Stops was originally published in The Alabama Historical Quarterly, Vol 17, No. 01 & 02, Spring and Summer Issue 1955. Additional notes and taverns have been added as we discover more information.

PRINCIPAL STAGE STOPS AND TAVERNS IN WHAT IS NOW ALABAMA PRIOR TO 1840. (This list was originally compiled from material as set out in the appended Bibliography by W. P. A. Workers on Project 1584.)

  • Alabama Hotel, Tuskaloosa; Under the management of Lewis it was the political center of that place while the Capitol was there. (Is this the same building known as The Old Tavern that is now located at 500 28th Avenue? It has been a fixture in downtown Tuscaloosa since the time of the capital era. Innkeeper William Dunton built the structure in 1827, three blocks from its current site as a tavern and hotel on the stagecoach route that passed through Tuscaloosa. This building has been now restored and is a museum)

Historic old Tavern & Stagecoach Stop in Tuscaloosa built ca. 1827   (photograph ca. 1960 Alabama Department of Archives and History)

  • Thomas Anthony’s Tavern; (See Fort Mitchell, Russell County).
  • Fort Bainbridge, Russell County; Twenty-nine miles West of the Chattahoochee River on the old Federal Road.
  • Mrs. Harris’ Hotel, 1835.
  • Lewis’ Tavern, 1818-1825; LaFayette stopped here, April 1, 1825. Capt. Kendall Lewis, the former Army Officer serving under Col. Benjamin Hawkins, the Agent, had his father-in-law, Big Warrior as his “Sleeping Partner,” but the Indian owned it.
  • Bear Meat Cabin, Blount County; Early travelers stopped, before 1825, in Blountsville on the Tuskaloosa to Huntsville road.
  • Bell Tavern; Same as Freeny’s Tavern. The Bell, which prompted the name, is now preserved in the Alabama Department of Archives and History.
  • Bonum’s Tavern, Montgomery County; This was the original settlement of the Bonham family in Western Montgomery County.
  • Major Brown’s Tavern, Dallas County; East of Cahaba River on the road to Tuskaloosa.
  • Buzzard Roost Tavern; Levi Colbert’s place of entertainment on the old Natchez Trace, in the present Colbert County.
  • Patrick Byrne’s Tavern, Baldwin County; On the hill before going down in the valley to reach Blakeley. A breakfast stop, where good coffee might be had
  • The Carter House, Claiborne; Kept by three brothers.

Kennedy House in Centreville, Alabama ca. 1907 -Before it was a residence, the house was the Alabama Hotel, then the Eagle Tavern (Alabama Department of Archives and History)
  • Centerville Tavern; The present day home of J. P. Kennedy at Centerville, used from the date of the removal of the Capitol to Tuskaloosa, as a stopping place in that town. On the removal of the records to Montgomery in 1847, the caravan stopped there. (see above under Alabama Hotel)
  • Cheathams Tavern, Huntsville, Madison County; C. Cheatham operated a place of entertainment in the town of Twickenham, on Jefferson Street, just off the Square.
  • M. Cokers (Cookers) Tavern; Northern part of Conecuh County (this stop was thirteen miles below Price’s on the road to Blakeley.)
  • Cook’s Tavern; An accommodation stop on the old Federal Road about Uchee, Russell County of to-day.
  • Crabtrees Tavern, 1825; (See Fort Mitchell, Russell County.)
  • Crocherons Tavern, Richmond, Dallas County ;This was a large brick structure, and the remains exist to-day.
  • Thomas Crowell’s Tavern, 1827; (See Fort Mitchell, Russell County.)
  • Dadeville Hotel; In which Johnson J. Hooper is reputed to have written some of his “Simon Suggs” and “Widow Rugby” stories.

The Palings (Joseph Hartley House) on the north side of County Road 58 in Fort Dale, Alabama. This house was built around 1825 and used as a stage coach inn. The photograph was taken ca.1940. The house burned July 11, 1953. This may be the tavern listed below as Fort Dale, 1820 (Alabama Department of Archives and History)
  • Fort Dale, Butler County; 1820.
  • The Taylor House, at Greenville; Was the official stopping place five years later.
  • Dexter House, Montgomery; Erected in 1847 by Col. Lewis Owen. Managed by Jacob P. House of Autauga County, a Mr. Sims, and William Taylor.
  • Duffies (Duffle’s) House; On the road from Coosada to Tuskaloosa, probably about Centerville.
  • Evans’ Tavern, Montgomery County; Same as Milly’s Tavern, Milly later married this man.
  • Exchange Hotel, Montgomery; Completed November, 1847. This hostelry was built by Robinson and Bardwell, who built the first State Capitol under plans drawn by Samuel Holt. Leased first by” J. J. Stewart, and subsequently in the management have been: Joseph G. Field, Washington Tilley, Lanier and Son, A. P. Watt, Bulger, Hucell and Company (who managed it during the Confederacy), C. A. Lanier, and that family owned the controlling interest to-day later. The Exchange Hotel was a four-story brick structure located off court street. It was the largest and best-appointed hotel in Montgomery at the beginning of the Confederacy when it was owned & operated by Abram Watts, with his eight slave attendants. It’s front & lobby were the gathering places for many political speeches and rallies.  Jefferson Davis stayed there when he first arrived in Montgomery and the starting point for his procession to the Capitol during his inauguration. Davis gave short remarks to crowds below from his Exchange Hotel balcony. The old building was torn down in 1904. The Exchange was rebuilt where the Medison House Hotel had been located, at the corner of Commerce and Montgomery Streets, on the Public Square then torn down in 1974.

Photograph of demolition of old Exchange Hotel in Montgomery, Alabama, November 10, 1904 – The hotel was rebuilt (Alabama Department of Archives and History)

Exchange Hotel ca. 1948 on Commerce Street –  (Alabama Department of Archives and History)
  • John M. Flynn’s House; Claiborne.
  • Frankfort Hotel, Franklin County; Built in 1844.
  • Major Clement Freeny’s Tavern, Montgomery; On present Commerce Street, two squares South of the River. Major Freeny was the son-in-law of Mrs. Walter Lucas, of Lucas’ Tavern fame. They both entertained LaFayette on his trip through America in 1825.

Freeney’s Tavern, also known as the Lafayette House, on the corner of Tallapoosa and Commerce Streets in Montgomery, Alabama. (Alabama Department of Archives and History)
  • The Georgian’s Tavern; An early stop probably in Monroe County, dating not later than 1830, on the road to Blakeley.
  • Globe Tavern; Same as the Indian Queen; built in 1820 by George Washington B. Townes. Mr. Townes was, a few years later, Governor of. Georgia.
  • Gregg’s Tavern, Lawrence County; At Leighton. The first stop after crossing the River at old Bainbridge, at a point on the Buyler road, first authorized Alabama State highway.
  • Green Bottom Inn, Madison County; On the Huntsville to New Market Pike. Maintained prior to 1818 and some years later by John Connelly. Here Andrew Jackson stopped.
  • Hadley’s Inn, Escambia County; Somewhere close to the present Flomaton.
  • Mrs. Harris Hotel, 1835; (See Fort Bainbridge, Russell County).
  • The Indian Queen, Montgomery; North side of Market Street, near North McDonnough Street.
  • James Johnston’s Tavern; (See Fort Mitchell, Russell County).
  • Edward D. Kings House, Perry County; This gentleman would take travelers as an accommodation only.
  • Lewis’ Tavern, 1818-1825; (See Fort Bainbridge, Russell County).
  • Longmyre’s Tavern; Sixteen miles South of Cooker’s, and probably in Conecuh County.
  • Lucas Tavern; Montgomery County, two miles West of Okfuski Creek. Gen. LaFayette spent the night of April 2, 1825 in this building, which now stands. (now restored and located in Old Alabama Town)

Lucas Tavern in Waugh, Alabama, located on the old Federal Road. ca. 1950 (Alabama Department of Archives and History)
  • Duncan (sometime Douglas) Macmillan’s House, Conecuh County; This house was sixteen miles from Longmyre’s. The proprietor was a God-fearing man.
  • Archibald Maderras Tavern, Huntsville, Madison County; This institution enjoyed a lucrative business in 1819 when it was political headquarters for the delegates to the Territorial Constitutional Convention.
  • The Madison House, Montgomery; Corner North Perry and Market Streets; erected in 1847, dismantled in 1908. Managed by Charles Abercrombie, Washington Tilley, Joseph Pizzala (he called it “The European House”), Sidney Kirtland and others.
  • Sam Manack’s House on Pinchona, Montgomery County; 1803-1816, at the old Federal Road crossing. Here was born David Moniac (Manack), first Indian appointed to the United States Military Academy; here was entertained Peggy and Lorenzo Dow, and Aaron Burr, under arrest, was here in 1807. Mrs. Manack was William Weatherford’s mother-in-law.
  • The Medison House, Montgomery; Erected in 1821, at the corner of Commerce and Montgomery Streets, on the Public Square. This is the present Exchange Hotel. (ca. 1930s & 1940s).
  • McAlpiris Tavern, Bibb County; Near the present Centerville, in Bibb County.
  • Merchants Hotel, Montgomery; Erected in 1831, by Mr. Caleb Tompkins, on the North side of Market Street, about the present Dexter Avenue Methodist Church. Managed by Oliver Reed, and after his death, by his widow. Burned May 18, 1846.
  • Mrs. Mill’s House, Baldwin County; Somewhere near the present crossing of Little River on Monroeville to Bay Minette road.
  • Milly’s Tavern, Montgomery County; At the Federal Road crossing of Noococe Cheppo Creek (two miles East of present Mt. Meigs). This woman, the widow of a British soldier who died at Kasihta, lived in the Creek country from 1785 to after 1820. She had a toll bridge and tavern stop license from the Federal Government.
  • Fort Mitchell, Russell County.
  • Thomas Anthonys Tavern; (Little Prince, the Indian Chief, controlled a half-interest in this business from 1811 to about 1824, though between 1811 and 1820 the tavern keeper’s name, the white man, is not mentioned, Adam Hodgson, when there in 1820, mentions Thomas Anthony of Philadelphia.
  • Crabtree’s Tavern, 1825; (Three miles West of Fort Mitchell). LaFayette stopped here March 31, 1825.
  • Thomas Crowell’s Tavern, 1827; (At the Post). Capt. Hall, R. N., Count Saxe-Weimer, James Stuart, and other notable travelers mentioned Capt. Crowell.
  • James Johnston’s Tavern; Same as Crowell’s, and was known by several other names; located at Fort Mitchell. Major Johnston was the Mail contractor between Montgomery and Milledgeville in the early Twenties, and controlled, with Ward Taylor of Greenville, and Patrick Byrnes of Blakeley, early Stage routes going South out of Montgomery.
  • The Montgomery Hall, Montgomery; On lower Market Street, Southwest corner of Lawrence. Cost $50,000; opened to the public in 1835; leased by Benjamin Wilson and John Bluck.
  • Montgomery Hotel, Montgomery; Same as Bell Tavern.
  • Mooresville Tavern, Limestone County; Still standing; property of Henry B. Zeitler’s Estate in the 1930s (see photographs)
  • Rev Nolls House, Bibb County; On the Tuskaloosa road.
  • Pack’s Tavern, DeKalb County; On the old road leading to Ross’ Landing, on the Tennessee River, and later Lebanon.  “This tavern was owned by a widow of a half-breed chief or headman and was herself a halfbreed. Mrs. Pack must have been a person of considerable prominence. She owned negro slaves and her daughters were at a boarding school in Louisville, Ky. She had quite a number of cattle and lived in a comfortable house. I have been informed by Professor Samuel L. Robertson, of Birmingham, that old Mrs. Barbara Pack kept a tavern at or near Lebanon in DeKalb county and that he has frequently stopped there when a boy accompanying his father who was an Episcopal clergyman. He also tells me that she has left numerous descendants, some of whom live in Jefferson county and are among our worthiest citizens.” (excerpt from John Murray Forbes’ Horseback trip to Alabama in 1831, by Thomas Semmes Forbes, Birmingham)

The photograph above may be the old Pack’s Tavern. It is listed as the Old Tavern at Lebanon, DeKalb County, Alabama at the Alabama Department of Archives and History ca. 1930
  • Peebles Tavern, Escambia County; About old Steadham village, the headwaters of the Escambia River.
  • Planters Hotel; On Montgomery Street, in the city of Montgomery, on the Square, West of the Artesian Basin (site of Capitol Clothing Store of 1936). Burned on December 16, 1838. In 1833, Abner McGee erected this building, making the bricks out of the contents of an Indian Mound on the River bank just East of Maxwell Field. (There is nothing of record in Montgomery Probate Office to show the exact date of the erection of the Planters Hotel, but a Mortgage made m 1836 by Pierce and Taylor to Abner McGee describes the property as the land occupied by the Planters Hotel.” This Mortgage was foreclosed m 1847 and William Taylor became the owner. He immediately transferred to the Planters Hotel Company a corporation. This was later succeeded by the Montgomery Hotel Company, the present owners of the land and buildings. The legal description of this property is; Lot 5, Square 13, East Alabama, located at Northwest corner of Montgomery and Commerce Streets. Having a frontage of 100 ft. on Commerce by a depth of 150 ft., on Montgomery Street. (Clyde E. Wilson, Abstractor)
  • Prices Inn, Butler County; About Butler Springs of today.
  • Routt’s Round Top Inn, Hazel Green, Madison County.
  • Roystons Inn, Russell County; At Sand Fort, fifteen miles West of the Chattahoochee River on the old Federal Road (1825 and 1836 dates historically recorded).
  • Scurlock’s, Conecuh County; On the Conecuh River, some thirty miles West of Pea River. This tavern was on the Fort Crawford road. In 1819, corn to feed the traveler’s horse was $6.00 per bushel. This family name is probably “Shurlock,” yet perpetuated in Southeast Alabama.
  • Sharp’s Tavern, Bibb County; Near the present Centerville.
  • Judge Stephens House, Bibb County; On the Tuskaloosa to Coosada road.
  • Tate’s, Baldwin County; At the forks of the Blakeley and Pensacola trails. This was the residence of David Tate, who moved, with Sam Manack, into this country on the former property of their relative, Alexander McGillivray. About 1818 or 1819, Andrew Jackson erected Montpelier at this place. Mr. Frank Earle owns the place and lives there to-day.
  • The Taylor House, Greenville, Butler County; (See Fort Dale).
  • Vickers’ Tavern; North side of Market Street, at Decatur. Erected in 1818 by James Vickers.
  • Walkers Tavern, Macon County; 1816 to about 1840. Adjacent to the Pole Cat Spring, Indian Agency, at the trail fork; North to Tukabahchi, West to Fort Jackson, Southwest to St. Stephens. Capt. Walker was the son-in-law of Big Warrior.
  • Washington Hall, Claiborne.
  • The White House, Cahaba, Dallas County.
  • Wood’s Tavern, Montgomery County; On the old Federal Road about fifteen miles West of Snowden, and somewhere in the vicinity of Sandy Ridge, Lowndes County of to-day. Col. Matthew Wood was an officer of the Alabama Militia. The Inn was presided over by his “talkative daughter.”
  • Young’s Tavern, Cahaba, Dallas County.

Bibliography.

  1. Peter A. Brannon,( named below as the author of many books) was a pharmacist chemist, 1900-1910; spent the remainder of his career with the Alabama Department of Archives and History, serving as curator, 1910-1941; archivist, 1941-1955, and as director, 1955-1967
  2. For numerous references to places of accommodation in Alabama prior to 1840, see: “Early Travel and some Stage Stops in Alabama” by Peter A. Brannon, in the Pageant Book,” Montgomery, 1926;
  3. “The Federal Road,” by Peter A. Brannon, published in the “Montgomery Advertiser,” 1923;
  4. “By-Paths Through Alabama, and Houses by the Side of the Road” by Peter A. Brannon, Montgomery, Alabama, 1929;
  5. “Little Journeys” by Peter A. Brannon, Montgomery, Alabama, 1930;
  6. “Mile Stones,” by Peter A. Brannon, Montgomery, Alabama, 1931;
  7. “Lillies, Lions, and Bagpipes” by Peter A. Brannon, Montgomery, Alabama, 1934.
  8. See also:
  9. “The Buyler Road,” by Peter A. Brannon, in the “Alabama Highways” Vol. 2, No. 12, March, 1927; “Three Notch Road” by Peter A. Brannon, in the “Alabama Highways” Vol. 1, No. 4, July, 1927;
  10. “The Federal Road,” by Peter A. Brannon, in the “Alabama Highways” Vol. 1, No. 1, April, 1927, and numerous references to early travel to be found in “Through the Years” stories by Peter A. Brannon in the “Montgomery Advertiser” from 1931 to date.
  11. See also:
  12. “Memorandum Taken on My Tour to Pensacola, Commencing the 15, April, 1819,” by Thomas Stocks, in the “Monthly Bulletin” issued by the Alabama Department of Archives and History, Vol. 2, No. 3, September, 1925.
  13. See also:
  14. “Early Taverns in America,” by Elise Lathrop, 1936 edition (data furnished by Peter A. Brannon);
  15. Journals of Levasseur; Count Saxe-Weimer; Capt. Basil Hall; Adam Hodgson, 1820; James Stuart, 1830; Tyrone Power; Sol Smith, the Comedian; and Lorenzo Dow; United States Treaties; Reports of Military Commands, etc., etc., mentioned Stopping Places.
  16. General Thomas Woodward’s “Reminiscenses,” Blue’s “History of Montgomery,”
  17. Mrs. Fry’s “Memories of Old Cahaba,”
  18. Hamilton’s Colonial Mobile,” and such publications give the early history of the locations, wherein is set out pertinent references to the original places of accommodation.

ALABAMA FOOTPRINTS Statehood: Lost & Forgotten Stories presents the times and conditions pioneers faced in lost & forgotten stories such as:

  • Who Controlled And Organized The New State of Alabama?
  • Tuscaloosa Had Three Other Names
  • Chandelier Falls & Capitol Burns
  • Alabama Throws Parties For General LaFayette
  • Francis Scott Key Was Sent to Alabama To Solve Problems

 

ALABAMA FOOTPRINTS Statehood: Lost & Forgotten Stories (Volume 6)


Features: Alabama Footprints Statehood Lost Forgotten Stories
By (author): Donna R Causey
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About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and www.daysgoneby.me
All her books can be purchased at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.
She has authored numerous genealogy books.
RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE)
is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2)
is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series)
Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1)
is the continuation of the story. .
For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

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13 comments

  1. Alabama Weaver

    It wasn’t difficult for Andrew Jackson who made it look like he had a personal jet plane with his band of merry men.

  2. Alabama Weaver

    Unless you know that Natchez was renamed to the Town of Mobile and that the Town of Mobile was also called Florida because of the Pensacola Mound which sits on top of Cedar Creek which drains from Indian Graves Creek or Springs.

  3. Ann Jay Puckett Harrison

    We were always told that the Puckett house in Carrollton was a stagecoach stop but it wasn’t listed. The house was built in 1834 by Dabney Puckett and still stands. It has been in the Puckett family since then. It is coming up for sale.

  4. Alabama Weaver

    Unless you know that Anne Royale created the fairy tale known as the Creek War and that other one called the Battle of New Orleans.

  5. Alabama Weaver

    Unless you know that Anne Royale aka N.B. Wrote Paul Pryor who in turn wrote General Putnam who in turn wrote the original Life of Jackson

    Eaton was a famous man – both of them.

    Anne Royale used both as pen names when she wrote under one and penned later editions of the Life of Jackson and when she penned the Sam Dale story.

    Never mind her stories of her husband William Wearherford and let us it forget her son-in-law Davey Crocket who she wrote as perished at that church at the Alamo which resembles the really old Spanish Mission which was removed in recent years from Highway 43 in Mobile Alabama near the DuPont and Ball Properties.

  6. Davis McGee, who lived in Plantersville (died 1855) is said to have operated a stagecoach inn at Plantersville – http://www.alagenealogy.com/Historical%20Information%20pages/Short%20History%20of%20Plantersville,%20Alabama.htm

  7. Troy Troy

    Pope’s tavern in Florence

  8. I didn’t see The Old Stagecoach Inn in Pickensville listed. It’s still standing.

  9. Wilks Turney

    Excellent research of an interesting subject. Just think about the road between Tuscaloosa and Coosada in those days.

  10. I was under the impression that in Stockton, Baldwin Co., the Stagecoach Inn on the Old Federal Road (now a restaurant) had been a traveler’s stop.

  11. Sue Harp

    One in Atmore Alabama..

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