Backstory and Context
The historic Stewart’s Tavern is located in Mineral County, WV. The tavern is also known by the common name John Stewart’s Tavern Inn. Stewart’s Tavern was nominated and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2000. Historically the tavern served as a hotel and a single dwelling. Stewart’s Tavern now serves Short Gap, WV as a museum.
The architecture style described on the National Register of Historic Places lists Stewart’s Tavern as vernacular. The tavern was constructed in 1790. It is listed as having a stone foundation, log walls, and a metal roof. The structure has been moved from its previous location. It is listed on the registry as significant in the areas of architecture and settlement. The time period of significance is 1790-1839.
Stewart’s Tavern was moved approximately sixty feet from its original location. “The original site of the tavern is now a triangular plot of land created by the construction of a fork in the road.” The tavern was built in the eighteenth century. Since there were no power tools, the craftsman “hand hewn chestnut logs with steeple notching.” It is a two and a half story log structure with a stone foundation, a grist mill stone as a step to the porch deck, and a stone chimney. It is one of the oldest two story log buildings in the county.
The French and Indian War caused frontier communities to be abandoned. The threat of Native American Indian attacks kept settlers away for quite some time. After the war ended settlers finally began to settle back into the area. During the 18th century the property was known as Creamer’s Mill. It changed hands several times and served several purposes. In addition to a mill it was used as a stagecoach stop, an inn, and later a residence.
The property was purchased in 1988 by Tom Thorpe, who is with the Frankfort District Historical Society, Inc. The historical society had the rare opportunity to have the tavern examined and documented. It was found that the log structure showed technological transitions from the 18th to 19th centuries. “The woodwork of the tavern is associated with the 18th century, while the hardware, with the use of butt hinges, is typical of the post 1790 period.”