The Rodgers Tavern Museum stands on the east bank of the Susquehanna River in Perryville, Maryland. Built n the 1740's, the tavern has been known as Stephenson's Tavern or Rodgers Tavern and was near to a ferry crossing established in 1695. Located on the Post Road between Baltimore and Philadelphia, numerous travelers crossed the river, lodged for the night, and partook of food and drink. As bridges and railroads replaced ferries and carriages, the once popular route via the Lower Susquehanna Ferry diminished in use and the tavern was no longer needed. It ta ceased operation in the 1880's and became a duplex housing unit.
During that time, the Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington Railroad bought the property and the building entered a period of neglect and deterioration. In 1956, spurred by various societies to save Rodgers Tavern, the Society for the Preservation of Maryland Antiquities (now Preservation Maryland) bought the building. Fourteen local civic and patriotic organizations united to form the Friends of Rodgers Tavern to preserve and restore it to its former state. Through their diligence, the tavern was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on April 26, 1972.
In 1993, ownership of Rodgers Tavern was transferred to the Town of Perryville. The Town seeks to continue to preserve this building and facilitate its usefulness as a historic center for cultural and community activities.
"My son enjoyed a class trip to the Tavern today! He was all excited that George Washington had been there! Thanks!"
Rodgers Tavern Museum preserves and shares the inimitable stories of all who lived, worked at, and visited this once vital link along one of the most important roadways in America’s early history through dynamic, engaging experiences that encourage exploration of our area's rich cultural and natural legacy.
The Rodgers Tavern Museum is one of the few surviving examples in Maryland of an 18th and 19th ferry site and tavern open to the public providing visitors with the opportunity to view the evolution of America's transportation history from 1695 to today.
The Rodgers Tavern Museum provides an excellent opportunity for understanding and exploring the important role played by ferries and taverns in the development and growth of transportation networks within Maryland and how these networks connected Maryland to the larger Atlantic world. Ferries and taverns in Maryland were a local connection to the larger Atlantic world within which Maryland operated and developed.
The Rodgers Tavern Museum is significant for its association with the American Revolutionary War. The Susquehanna Lower Ferry conveyed 4,000 French and 1,100 American troops across the river during the march to Yorktown, VA in 1781 and Rochambeau's subsequent return to Philadelphia, PA the following year.
The Rodgers Tavern Museum is significant for its association with the War of 1812. British raiding parties during the spring and summer of 1813 forced individuals to make difficult choices with domestic, economic, and social impacts for the property's owners, tavern and ferry keepers, travelers, and workers.
The Rodgers Tavern Museum provides an excellent opportunity for recognizing and understanding the essential role African-Americans played in the operation of the Susquehanna Lower Ferry and Tavern. The ways in which African-Americans used their interactions with travelers and local residents to learn about the wider world and the choices made with that knowledge are part of the fabric of local, state, and national history.
The Rodgers Tavern Museum provides and excellent opportunity to explore the integral role women played as proprietors, workers, and customers of taverns and ferries.