Thomas Tavern

Steve Marion | The Standard Banner

What appears to be red cedar siding is beginning to shine through as Two Rivers Restoration employees Matt Murney (left) and Jason Weaver worked on the Thomas Tavern this week.

“Ordinary” was the colonial term for a place where travelers could board for the night and buy a meal for a fixed price. The term hung on longer in the South, so it’s likely that a traveler entering Dandridge in the 1820s would have been directed to Hickman Tavern, Roper Tavern, or Shepard Inn had he inquired about “ordinaries” available in the little hilly town on the stage road next to the French Broad River.

Dandridge’s newest ordinary probably didn’t appear until the 1840s. The Thomas Tavern’s accommodations, centering around a sleeping loft, might have been somewhat more basic than its competitors, but they also might have been more affordable.

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