On this site, lot 39, as designated of a plat of Leonardtown c. 1728, was constructed the "Great House" of John Stewart. Built c. 1734, the structure stood until 1960 and over the years served many purposes being referenced at various periods as the "Great House", "Thompson's Inn", "The Tavern Lot", "The Old Tavern Lot", "Clarke's Hotel" and the "Beacon Building".
During its 225 years the Great House provided offices for county agencies, local businesses and professionals while serving as a boarding house, hotel, tavern, billiard room, stage depot, and private residence.
In 1802 the Georgetown and Port Tobacco mail stage was extended to Thompson's Inn at Leonardtown. James Thompson Jr. proprietor was father of 8 sons, four who fought the British during the War of 1812 and thus became known to posterity as the "Fighting Thompsons'."
In 1818 then tavern proprietor, Philip Greenwell, for the yearly rent of one bottle of Madeira wine to Henry G.S. Key, enjoyed the use of a 15 foot strip of land running along and parallel with said lot, to wit a sidewalk.
The Leonardtown Herald and subsequently the Saint Mary's Beacon were published from this location from 1839 until the demise of the building in 1960. From 1855 through 1952 three generations of the King family, John Franklin, Francis Vernon and Aloysius Fenwick lived and ran the paper from this location.
On April 25, 1905 the Leonardtown telephone exchange, located in the "Beacon Building" opened with 25 phones on the line.
In September 2 1911, after inspecting the new road from Mechanicsville to Leonardtown, Governor Crothers posed for a photograph in front of the Beacon building with a team of oxen symbolizing the passing of the ox team in St. Mary's as an essential element of transportation.
St.Mary;s County Health Department was located on the second floor of the Beacon Building from 1934 to 1953.
The two English yew trees located on this lot were located in the front yard of the structure and are thought to have been brought from England and planted during the Colonial period.