Rising Sun Tavern was built by George Washington’s younger brother Charles in 1760. Charles called it 'Washington Tavern' while he lived here, operated the tavern and served as the postmaster of Fredericksburg. Taverns provided a hub for colonial life in America. They were often stagecoach stops that provided accommodations and meals for travelers, as well as venues for travelling entertainment. They also provided meeting rooms and postal services for local townspeople. Much of the American Revolution was fomented in local taverns such as The Rising Sun.

During the Revolutionary War, Rising Sun Tavern became a meeting place for a Who's Who of Revolutionary War patriots and rebels including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, George Mason and Hugh Mercer, all of whom stayed at the tavern during the Revolutionary War. In 1781 a ball was held at the Rising Sun Tavern to celebrate the patriot victory at Yorktown. Both of the French allies Marquis de Lafayette and Gen. Rochambeau were in attendance. In 1792 the Wallace family purchased the building and also operated the Rising Sun as a tavern for another 35 years. Yet, the tavern was shut down by the time of the Civil War. In 1970 Preservation Virginia purchased the tavern and completed a restoration while maintaining much of the original woodwork and including the addition of a front porch.

Owned and operated by Washington Heritage Museums, Rising Sun Tavern offers daily guided tours by costumed interpreters who provide an entertaining and informative look at tavern life in the 18th century. The tour includes the tap room, dining room and upstairs sleeping rooms. All rooms contain period furnishings. The Tap Room features a collection of original English and American pewter and the restored 'bar cage' that kept the barkeeper safe when conversations in the tavern became a little too 'spirited.'

Pictured at the top: The restored Rising Sun Tavern.

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Located on Caroline Street, Rising Sun Tavern is part of the charm of historic downtown Fredericksburg.