RALEIGH TAVERN


A Brief History: Located in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia, The Raleigh Tavern is believed to have been built circa 1735. Named for influential English settler Sir Walter Raleigh, it served as a popular tavern during colonial times to many politicians and dignitaries. Some of its most well known visitors included Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, and The Marquis de Lafayette. Revolutions and boycotts were born and discussed here. Secret societies held meetings here, including the first meeting of Phi Beta Kappa. Slaves were sold also here. Some also claim that the skull of the famous pirate, Blackbeard was fashioned into a drinking device and used as such here. It served as a popular meeting house until it was burned down by an arsonist in 1859. It was rebuilt from 1930-1931 and was the first building to be rebuilt and opened as part of Colonial Williamsburg. Today, it serves as a museum and continues to be one of the more popular local attractions. Perhaps, however, not just for the living.


Haunted History: Given the long, diverse, and sometimes dark history of The Raleigh Tavern, it should come as no surprise that there is also a history of haunted claims. One popular story is that the sounds of a party or ball being held behind the blackened windows can be heard late at night. Music playing, people talking, laughing, and singing, footsteps shuffling across the dancefloor. The unexplained smell of tobacco smoke wafts through the air when no smokers are present. If you listen carefully, maybe you can hear the sound of Blackbeard’s skull being passed between partygoers. When the party is going this strong, why would anyone want it to end?