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St. Mary's City in St. Mary's County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

...and Coffee House

 
 
...and Coffee House Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, August 30, 2019
1. ...and Coffee House Marker
Inscription.  In his will, Garrett Van Sweringen left the Council Chamber and "and Coffee house" to his wife and children. It is one of the earliest references to a coffee house in English America. Although built as a brew and bake house, archaeological evidence implies that it became the coffee house in the early 1690s. Coffee houses were a new and very fashionable institution in England during the second half of the 17th century. They became popular places for people to talk, exchange news, and conduct business. A coffee house in St. Mary's City is another example of Van Sweringen's innovative efforts to develop the urban character of the capital.

[Captions:]
Early coffee houses in England opened their doors to both gentry and tradesmen. Many establishments had rules to promote civilized behavior such as extracting a 12-pence penalty for those who swore. Card games and dice were forbidden but good conversation was encouraged.

Excavators found fragments of rare Turkish coffee cups at the site that date to the late 17th or early 18th century. According to rules for an English coffee house, if a man started
...and Coffee House Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, August 30, 2019
2. ...and Coffee House Marker
a quarrel, he was expected to buy a "dish" of coffee for each patron. It is possible Garrett Van Sweringen was serving guests from such cups.

Smoking was a key part of the coffee house experience in the 17th century. Archaeologists excavated more pipes associated with this small building than were found on the rest of the Van Sweringen site.

 
Erected by Historic St. Mary's City.
 
Location. 38° 11.118′ N, 76° 26.016′ W. Marker is in St. Mary's City, Maryland, in St. Mary's County. Marker can be reached from Old State House Road 0.1 miles north of Point Lookout Road (Maryland Route 5), on the left when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 47414 Old State House Road, Saint Marys City MD 20686, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Brewing and Baking (here, next to this marker); ...about the Corner of Vansweeringens Garden fence (a few steps from this marker); Keep It Clean (a few steps from this marker); ...Adjourn to the Arbour at Vansweringens (within shouting distance of this marker); The Kitchen (within shouting distance of this marker); A Busy Kitchen (within shouting distance of this marker); The Servants
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(within shouting distance of this marker); The Cooling House (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in St. Mary's City.
 
Categories. Colonial EraIndustry & CommerceNotable Buildings
 

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Credits. This page was last revised on September 3, 2019. This page originally submitted on September 3, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 62 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on September 3, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.
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