Here, you can see the edges of a large depression. It is located inside ropes that mark the Tavern's foundation. This feature was one of two cellars underneath the ca. 1822 Tavern building. These cellars were beneath two rooms that flanked the central passageway.
When owner Thomas R. Hampton advertised the sale of the Brentsville Tavern in 1828, he noted that two rooms "?have been well fitted up as a store and counting room with a large cellar underneath?". * This may be the cellar that Hampton mentioned. It was likely accessed through an interior stairway and an exterior bulkhead.
* Alexandria Gazette, 22 November, 1828
(sidebar)Please help protect this important historic resource. Metal detecting, collecting and other destructive activities are prohibited. Thank you.
By the early 1900s, little of the Tavern building remained. Most walls had collapsed. Many of the large features (cellars and pits) had been backfilled. This cellar remained open. Over time, debris collected here. Weather, rodents, and people further threatened the site. To preserve the cellar for later study, the Historic Preservation Division lined and filled it with sand in 2006. Archaeologists will be able to remove this sand and excavate the cellar in the future.
(caption for lower, left picture) The cellar feature was visible and vulnerable before it was filled and stabilized in 2006.
(caption for lower, center picture) Rodents burrowing along the cellar foundation exposed bricks and weakened the structure.
(caption for lower, right picture) Workers lined the cellar depression with filter fabric then filled it with sand to preserve the remaining walls.