History: This tavern, hostelry and post office was owned by the Mary Surratt, a Confederate sympathizer. Built in 1854, the building was used as a safe house for Confederate agents during the Civil War. When John Wilkes Booth made his original scheme to kidnap President Lincoln, he planned to use this tavern as a way station and holding place for President Lincoln. Mary’s son, John Surratt, Jr. was to help bring Lincoln to Richmond. Booth arranged to have weapons and supplies stashed here.
Booth changed his plans and shot Lincoln on April 14th 1865 at Ford’s Theatre. Booth and David Herold, his accomplice, went directly to Surratt tavern to retrieve the weapons they had stored here. Mrs. Surratt was executed on July 7th 1865 for her role as an accomplice. Her son fled to Canada but was later tried, acquitted and moved to Baltimore.
More to Explore: Guided tours of the house and museum are offered Wednesday through Sunday.
Nearby is the L P Cosca Regional Park with woods and a lake that boasts paddleboats, campsites, picnic areas and a playground. Piscataway Creek Stream Valley Park is a great park for hiking, hunting and fishing and even bird watching. Not too far away is the Gaylord National Resort and Conference Center, an upscale hotel with a plethora of restaurants, shops, nightlife, a spa and a giant Ferris wheel.
1. “Mary Surratt Portrait” Courtesy of New York Public Library.
2. “Modern Day Surratt House” Courtesy of Maryland Office of Tourism.