“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Cooksville in Howard County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

Roberts Inn

A 200-Year-Old Turnpike Tavern

Roberts Inn Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), March 27, 2020
1. Roberts Inn Marker
Robert Inn is one of several 19th-century taverns still standing along Frederick Turnpike, also known as MD 144. Reaching here by 1808, the roadway connected Baltimore with Frederick and western Maryland. The new turnpike quickly became popular with drovers and passenger coach services.

Roberts Inn was built by Thomas Cook, founder of Cooksville. Capitalizing on the increased traffic along Frederick Turnpike, Zachariah Roberts rented the home from Cook and opened a tavern here by 1820. He lived here with his family and at least two enslaved African Americans. They raised cows to provide the inn with milk, butter, and beef while hay was grown to feed his guest's animals. By the mid-19th century, the turnpike was in direct competition with the railroads, which could haul goods faster and cheaper. The tavern soon closed and reverted back to a home and working farm.¹

Tradition holds that Lafayette had breakfast at Roberts Inn during his 1824 tour of America.
What's for Dinner?
During an archaeological dig at the inn, a dense artifact "midden" (or trash pit)
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was found in the front yard. Most of the animal bones had evidence of butchering, including saw and hatchet marks. The bones were primarily from the upper legs of the cows, suggesting guests ate beef roasts and stews rather than steaks or ribs.

Maryland Department of Transportation archaeologists studied this site to learn about the lives of people who lived along Frederick Turnpike. They found many artifacts associated with dining including a wine glass stem and a plate.

1880 map showing Roberts Inn (circled in red) and other businesses once located in Cooksville. The community included stores, a post office, physicians, a blacksmith shop, and numerous residences.

¹National Register of Historic Places Registration Form, Roberts Inn (HO-5), Howard County, Maryland, authored by Kenneth M. Short.

Erected by Maryland Department of Transportation.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansAnimalsAnthropology & ArchaeologyIndustry & CommerceRoads & Vehicles. In addition, it is included in the Lafayette’s Farewell Tour series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1808.
Location. 39° 19.252′ N, 77° 1.193′ W. Marker is in Cooksville
Roberts Inn Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), March 27, 2020
2. Roberts Inn Marker
, Maryland, in Howard County. Marker is on Frederick Road (Maryland Route 144) just west of Roxbury Mills Road (Maryland Route 97), on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 14600 Frederick Rd, Cooksville MD 21723, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Gettysburg Campaign (within shouting distance of this marker); Cooksville (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Cooksville (within shouting distance of this marker); Simpson & Mount Gregory United Methodist Churches (approx. 0.9 miles away); Mount Gregory United Methodist Church Bell (approx. 0.9 miles away); Cooksville High School (approx. 0.9 miles away); Dr. Charles Alexander Warfield (approx. 1.3 miles away); New Lisbon (approx. 2.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Cooksville.
Credits. This page was last revised on March 27, 2020. It was originally submitted on March 27, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 384 times since then and 143 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on March 27, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.

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Dec. 4, 2023