From 1796 through the mid-nineteenth century, the City Tavern provided a focus for community activity in Georgetown as a site of community meetings, business functions, and transportation. The building was at the crossroads of the early capital and national history. The tavern has close associations with Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) and John Adams (1735-1826). Plans were laid here for greeting Adams in 1800, as he arrived at the DC boundary and escorted to the White House by Georgetown citizens. Additionally, Jefferson’s letters reveal that he held the place in high regard and that he recommended it to important visitors.
Management of the City Tavern changed hands many times, and it was known over the years as Semmes’ Tavern, The Indian King Tavern, the Columbian Inn, United States Hotel, Georgetown Hotel, and Morgan House, until 1898, when the building was converted to retail use.
By 1960, the City Tavern had fallen into disrepair and housed a print shop on its street level. The was scheduled to be razed and paved for a parking lot when a group of Georgetowners formed the City Tavern Association to protect and preserve one of the oldest buildings in DC. The old tavern was saved and beautifully restored, reopening as a private club in 1962.
DC Inventory: November 8, 1964
National Register: January 17, 1992
Within Georgetown Historic District