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Slifer's Tavern (closed)

Formerly/Also Known As U.S. Hotel

2 South Main Street
Boonsboro, MD 21713

Built ca. 1811 by Ezra Slifer. Believed to be the first brick building in Boonsboro.

From Searight's The Old Pike (1894):

The Slifer Brothers kept tavern in Boonsboro in the olden time. Their house was not a wagon stand. One of the Slifer brothers, as before stated, claimed to be the inventor of the 'rubber,' brake, as it is commonly called.

From the Maryland Historical Trust:

Although originally constructed as a single-family home, this building served, for many years, as a hotel for travelers along the old National Road. Its location at Boonsboro's principal intersection, made it a town landmark.

According to deed research by Doug Bast, this building rests on original lot 13 that was first purchased by Daniel Stonesifer in 1792. By at least 1796, a log structure had been erected on the site and was occupied by a store that was operated by a Mrs. Short. This structure is believed to have been one of the first constructed in the area and predated the establishment of the town. Following Mrs. Short's death, the property was deeded to John Bratner and Henry Nyman, Sr.

The extant structure was erected in 1811 on the newly completed National Pike by Dr. Ezra Slifer as a house for himself. According to a history of Boonsboro, this may have been the first brick house erected in the town. The history states that the bricks are believed to have been brought from England as ballast on ships. Perhaps because of its prominent location on the National Pike, the structure was destined to serve purposes other than that of a single-family residence.

Dr. Slifer sold the house soon after its construction to John Adams, a contractor with the Boonsboro-Sharpsburg Pike (Potomac Street) which was under construction at that time. Adams opened a tavern in the building in 1813, but soon sold the property to George and M. Stonebraker who constructed the ell in 1821. It is possible, based on the design of the ell, that the structure was used as a hotel at that time. Upon the completion of the ell, the building was leased to Thomas Edwards, then to Charles Perry, and then to Jonathan Shafer, a prominent Boonsboro resident who owned a large tannery. After Shafer's tenancy, the building was closed for a short time, but was reopened and used, briefly, as a female seminary which was run by William Bear and his daughters. Soon thereafter, it was converted back to use as a tavern and hotel and passed through several managements.

By the time of the Civil War, the entire structure was occupied by the U. S. Hotel with Silas Browning serving as its proprietor. According to deeds, Elie Wade purchased the property from George S. and Rebecca Kennedy in 1868. Wade must have continued to operate the building as a hotel (or hired a proprietor) because the structure is still listed as the U.S. Hotel on the 1877 map of Boonsboro.

Near the end of the 9th century, the hotel converted by Dr. J. Hubert Wade (son of Elie Wade?) into his private residence and office. Wade was a prominent local doctor who served the community for over half a century. His residency is confirmed by the 1897 Sanborn map of Boonsboro that indicates that the structure was occupied as a residence, and that it also contained a barber shop in the ell. However, the barber shop is no longer noted on Sanborn maps after 1904. The property was transferred from Elie Wade to Hubert Wade and Cora W[ade?] Smith in 1905. In 1927, Cora Simpson (formerly Smith) deeded her portion of the property to Hubert Wade.

Dr. Wade must have made several changes to the interior of the building to convert it into a home. It is known that he removed the bar from the taproom, placed it in the basement, and used it as a workbench. Between 1910 and 1924, a metal garage was added to the end of the ell. This structure has since been demolished. Upon Dr. Wade's death, the property was occupied by his housekeeper and was sold in 1959 to Alfred C. Huffer, Sr. Huffer converted the single-family structure into the six extant apartments and sold the property in 1975 to Phillip A. Butler. It was sold by Butler to K&L Investments in 1982. It was last sold by K&L nvestments to Duane S. Lawson in 1988.

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Slifer's Tavern
Slifer's Tavern, June 1999. Photo: Maryland Historical Trust

Slifer's Tavern
Slifer's Tavern, June 1999. Photo: Maryland Historical Trust

Slifer's Tavern
Slifer's Tavern, June 1999. Photo: Maryland Historical Trust

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Last updated: 2014-04-05 16:30:43

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