Jersey Olde Towne Village Programming
Indian Queen Tavern
The Indian Queen Tavern was reputed
to have been built as a home in the early 1700s along the New Brunswick
waterfront. Later the structure was enlarged and operated as a tavern
during the Revolutionary War period. By the 1780s, it was under
the ownership of James Drake who also operated a ferry between New
Brunswick and Highland Park.
From the late 1700s until 1818, the name of the establishment intermittently
changed between Drake's Tavern and the Indian Queen. After 1818
and throughout the rest of the nineteenth century, the tavern was
known as the Bell Tavern or Bell Hotel.
bar typical of 18th century taverns
Federal style architecture was gaining
popularity during the post Revolutionary War period. It is often
distinguished by lighter treatments of architectural elements, a
reaction to the heavy look of the Georgian style that preceded it
- which was noted for its wood paneling and highly decorative fireplace
Staircases in the Federal style are exemplified by simple rounded
handrails and square balusters, with light and flowing architectural
One of the Tavern's
most distinguished guests, Benjamin Franklin
Indian Queen Tavern first floor areas have been interpreted to reflect
December 9, 1783, as if tavern owner James Drake were setting-up for
the festivities that would take place later that evening. Although
documents do not detail what furniture was in the room for Washington's
visit, a number of period pieces help to depict the room setting.
Rush-bottom chairs and a looking glass (mirror) are typical of furnishings
found in New Brunswick taverns.
of the permanent exhibit in the tavern
bedchambers were sparsely decorated in the eighteenth and early nineteenth
century, often containing only beds, washstand, and perhaps a looking
glass (mirror). During the eighteenth century it was not uncommon,
especially in rural taverns, to be placed in crowded rooms with multiple
beds. In 1794, French political refugee Moreau de St. Mery, while
traveling though New Jersey, remarked on the custom of sharing rooms,
which on occasion included sleeping in a bed with a stranger.
The custom transcended all classes, as even Benjamin Franklin was
forced to share a room with John Adams after finding that most of
the inns in New Brunswick had been filled.
Inn room of the Indian
Queen Tavern on the second floor.
Note the rope bed, wash stand and stove for heat.