THE OBERLIN ANOMALY - CHAPTER 12 - SUTER'S TAVERN

 Chapter 12 of the Oberlin Anomaly takes place in Cassidy's Tavern on the Georgetown, DC waterfront in 1822. The tavern fronts the Potomac River on Fishing Lane. It is modeled after Suter’s Tavern, also known as The Fountain Inn. Suter’s was one of Georgetown's best-known hostelries.  Although some controversy exists about the exact location, John Suter likely established the tavern in 1783 in Georgetown on Fishing Lane, placing it near the intersection of31st and K Streets, NW, or on nearby High Street, the modern day Wisconsin Avenue. Suter operated this tavern until his death in 1794, and his wife and son continued to do so afterward. In later years the tavern became an oyster house as pictured in the Library of Congress photo above and finally disappeared. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and other notable residents frequented the tavern in its heyday. It was commonplace in those times for this, Georgetown’s most famous tavern, to provide lodging for travelers and to be the site of important business meetings, including the planning for the budding Washington City. 

Suter’s Tavern (The Fountain Inn) in Georgetown (Library of Congress)

Suter’s Tavern (The Fountain Inn) in Georgetown (Library of Congress)

 In Chapter 12 of The Oberlin Anomaly Thomas Jefferson is staying in the fictional tavern and takes part in the story. It is known historically that Thomas Jefferson frequented Suter’s Tavern and once stated that “no man on the Atlantic coast can bring out a better bottle of Madeira or Sherry than old Suter.”

Elsewhere in the novel the fictional tavern has become the site of The Jefferson Society, and the scene for much of the action that takes place in the present time. It is no accident that the fictional Jefferson Society building sits near 31st and K Streets, NW, one possible site of Suter’s Tavern and adjacent to Thomas Jefferson Street, Georgetown.

  1. ^ Holmes, Oliver W. (1980). The City Tavern: A Century of Georgetown History, 1796-1898. Columbia Historical Society; City Tavern Association reprint. p. 5.
  2. ^ Ecker, Grace Dunlop (1933). A Portrait of Old Georgetown. Garrett & Massie, Inc. p. 18.
  3. ^ Holmes, Oliver W. (1980). The City Tavern: A Century of Georgetown History, 1796-1898. Columbia Historical Society; City Tavern Association reprint. pp. 2, 5.
  4. ^ Holmes, Oliver W. "Suter's Tavern: Birthplace of the Federal City". Records of the Columbia Historical Society. 73-74: 1–34.