History of the Interior
An Inside Look At Reynolds Tavern
The interior of Reynolds Tavern is rich in history, and well-documented thanks to William Reynolds’s Inventory of 1777, records kept by Farmers Bank, and the Library Association.
The center hall is largely unchanged from its original 1747 design. The wainscot along the long wall (early 19th century) is an exact reproduction of the original paneling. The staircase is essentially of the 1747 period. An overhead beam was notched to provide headroom around 1906.
The south dining room (on the left as one enters the hall) was called The Hall and The Little Back Room in Reynolds’s Inventory. Originally two rooms, each had a fireplace. The single room and fireplace date from 1812 when Annapolis cabinet maker John Shaw altered the building for Farmers Bank.
The north dining room was also originally two rooms. The well-designed and constructed mid-18th century cupboard was likely moved to the room in the 19th century, possibly as early as 1812, when John Shaw made major changes to the “banking room” and the tavern was given over to the exclusive residential use of the bank’s cashier.
On the second floor, doors have been added to access the back rooms of the original building which adds two additional rooms to rent. The rooms were originally separated by the 1747 board partition, but it has since been moved to make the back room slightly larger. The doors may have been added in 1785 when Alexander Truman, Reynolds’s son-in-law, advertised the tavern as a boarding house.
The floor, with some patches, is the original 1747 wood. The walls and ceiling also date from 1747; architectural historians have traced 29 coats of whitewash on them. In the north chambers, the front room has a 1747-period fireplace flanked by built-in closets. They are not original but are of an early date. Paint history on these walls reveal 12 coats of whitewash with no other finish until the early 20th century when the walls were covered with canvas.
In the south chambers, the original plaster walls were whitewashed. All wood trim was painted a grayish-green into the 1770s. Reynolds referred to the front room as the “Great Green Room” in his inventory.
The staircase to the third floor was relocated around 1785. The blocked-in dormer previously led to attic space over the rear addition. In the relocation, most of the original parts were reused and the skirting, handrails, balusters, newels, bottom rails, and the balustrade are all from 1747.
Reynolds called the big room spanning the entire south side of the tavern the “Upper Large Room with Five Beds.” This was always one room. The door and trim, the casings and cheeks of the dormers, the base molding, and the floor all date from 1747. The pointed, arched Gothic Revival mantel is from the mid-19th century.