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Dumfries in Prince William County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Colonial Dumfries - Williams Ordinary

 
 
Colonial Dumfries - Williams Ordinary Marker image. Click for full size.
By Kevin W., November 1, 2007
1. Colonial Dumfries - Williams Ordinary Marker
Inscription.  Williams Ordinary is believed to have been built in the 1760s, although the exact construction date is unknown. The building’s symmetrical façade features header bond, a brick pattern rarely found in Virginia. This building was one of the most prominent structures in colonial Dumfries and reflected the port town’s importance and wealth.

While the building is known as Williams Ordinary, records are unclear as to whether local tavern keeper George Williams occupied this structure during the 1700s. The building’s name has changed to indicate various owners or uses. It has been called Love’s Hotel, Old Love’s Tavern, the Brick Tavern and the Stagecoach Inn. Research on the building is ongoing.

(caption of picture, lower left)
Williams Ordinary was called Albert’s Hotel when this photograph was taken in the early 1930s.
Courtesy of the Library of Congress

(caption of picture in center)
This detail from a 1751 map illustrates how important tobacco was to colonial ports such as Dumfries. From
Closeup of center picture on "Colonial Dumfries - Williams Ordinary" Marker image. Click for full size.
By Kevin W., November 1, 2007
2. Closeup of center picture on "Colonial Dumfries - Williams Ordinary" Marker
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Peter Jefferson’s and Joshua Fry’s Map of the most inhabited part of Virginia containing the whole province of Maryland with part of Pensilvania, New Jersey and North Carolina. Courtesy of the Library of Congress

Colonial Dumfries

Founded in 1749 by Scottish merchants, Dumfries’ port rivaled those in Boston and New York. Dumfries became the Prince William County seat in 1759. Sailors, slaves, merchants and members of the influential Lee, Fairfax, Mason and Washington families frequented the town. By 1763, falling tobacco exports and silt clogging the port began Dumfries’ slow economic decline.

What’s an Ordinary?

The term ordinary was common in Europe and early America. These establishments provided travelers with an ordinary meal and sleeping space. Such places were also called taverns or inns. Ordinaries were the social centers of a community where patrons met and exchanged news. Many taverns operated in Dumfries, but those operating in this building were likely among its finest.

(caption of picture, lower right)
Ordinary patrons danced, gamed, drank and visited, as artist John Lewis Krimmel (1786-1821) showed in this c. 1820 watercolor of an American country tavern.
Courtesy
"Colonial Dumfries - Williams Ordinary" and "Dumfries - Love's Tavern" Markers image. Click for full size.
By Kevin W., November 1, 2007
3. "Colonial Dumfries - Williams Ordinary" and "Dumfries - Love's Tavern" Markers
Williams Ordinary / Love's Tavern is in the background.
of the Library of Congress
 
Erected 2007.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Colonial EraIndustry & CommerceNotable Buildings. A significant historical year for this entry is 1751.
 
Location. 38° 34.13′ N, 77° 19.401′ W. Marker is in Dumfries, Virginia, in Prince William County. Marker is at the intersection of N. Main Street (U.S. 1) and Colonial Street, on the right when traveling south on N. Main Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Dumfries VA 22026, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Dumfries - Love’s Tavern (here, next to this marker); History of Dumfries (approx. 0.2 miles away); Graham Park (approx. 0.2 miles away); Dumfries Raid (approx. 0.2 miles away); Revolutionary War Campaign of 1781 (approx. 0.2 miles away); Dumfries Methodist Church Bell (approx. 0.3 miles away); Prince William County Court House (approx. 0.3 miles away); Weems-Botts House (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Dumfries.
 
More about this marker. See nearby "Dumfries - Love's Tavern" marker for additional information and links.
 
Regarding Colonial Dumfries - Williams Ordinary. The Williams Ordinary, once a private residence, was purchased by Prince William County in January, 2007.
 
Williams Ordinary image. Click for full size.
By Kevin W., November 1, 2007
4. Williams Ordinary
The front façade features header bond, a rare building feature in colonial Virginia.
Route 1 in 1919, with Williams Ordinary in the Background. image. Click for full size.
PWC Public Library System, 1919
5. Route 1 in 1919, with Williams Ordinary in the Background.
This is how it was in 1919 for travelers between Richmond and Washington along what later was to become US Route 1. Shown is the Dumfries area in Prince William County...
Route 1 in the 1930s, with Williams Ordinary in the background. image. Click for full size.
circa 1930s
6. Route 1 in the 1930s, with Williams Ordinary in the background.
This photograph was taken some time in the 1930s. Note the road has been paved since the previous 1919 photograph, making traveling a bit easier.
Love's Tavern - Williams Ordinary image. Click for full size.
Library of Congress, circa 1935
7. Love's Tavern - Williams Ordinary
http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/hhh.va0847
Love's Tavern - Williams Ordinary, c. 1969 image. Click for full size.
By NPS - National Register
8. Love's Tavern - Williams Ordinary, c. 1969
Inside Williams Ordinary today image. Click for full size.
By K G W
9. Inside Williams Ordinary today
Inside Williams Ordinary today image. Click for full size.
By K G W
10. Inside Williams Ordinary today
Inside Williams Ordinary today image. Click for full size.
By K G W
11. Inside Williams Ordinary today
Inside Williams Ordinary today - stonework image. Click for full size.
By K G W
12. Inside Williams Ordinary today - stonework
Inside Williams Ordinary today - stonework image. Click for full size.
By K G W
13. Inside Williams Ordinary today - stonework
Inside Williams Ordinary today - stonework image. Click for full size.
By K G W
14. Inside Williams Ordinary today - stonework
An example of "Header Bond", as used on the Williams Ordinary facade. image. Click for full size.
By Kevin W.
15. An example of "Header Bond", as used on the Williams Ordinary facade.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on November 26, 2021. It was originally submitted on November 4, 2007, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia. This page has been viewed 3,263 times since then and 66 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on November 4, 2007, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.   6. submitted on November 22, 2021, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.   7, 8. submitted on November 1, 2007, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.   9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14. submitted on November 30, 2009, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.   15. submitted on November 4, 2007, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.

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Nov. 30, 2021