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The Boyd Tavern History

The Boyd Tavern, also known as Boyd’s Tavern, Exchange Hotel, and Boydton Hotel, is a historic inn and tavern located in the Historic District of the town of Boydton in Mecklenburg County, Virginia. It is a rambling, two-story structure built in at least three stages throughout history. The front facade features a full-length two-story porch with sawn-work decoration.


     Created as an “ordinary” to provide overnight accommodations near the county courthouse, the Boyd Tavern has been a prominent landmark and a treasure of architectural and historic significance for more than two hundred years. The original tavern was constructed in 1785, and was licensed as an ordinary to Richard Swepson, Jr. It contained the 1770 county courthouse, jail, stock, and tavern.

In 1794, Richard sold the 480 acre tract to his brother-in-law, Alexander Boyd. His sons enlarged and remodeled the Tavern several times. In 1811, Alexander Boyd described his establishment as having, “a table amply supplied with all the meat raised in this part of the Country and a cellar furnished with the liquors of Europe, Africa and America; a tavern with fourteen rooms and twelve fireplaces… with stables as good as any in the state.”

     In 1824, William Townes acquired the Tavern with furnishings, five acres of land, the stable, storehouse, shoe shop, and other buildings for $13,400. He then established a race track on the premises. The establishment has served as the Randolph-Macon College for men and as a stage coach depot on the Boydton-Petersburg Plank Road. In 1861, the Boyd Tavern became the mustering place for Confederate soldiers from the area. In 1976, the Tavern was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and designated a Virginia Historic Landmark and a Mecklenburg County Landmark.

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