Tomlinson Inn and The Little Meadows
12871, National Pike (US 40), Grantsville, Garrett County
The Tomlinson Inn is a large, rectangular stone structure built on a hillside on the north side of U.S. 40. Constructed c. 1818, the inn has two full stories plus an attic, and a basement which is exposed on the north or downhill side. There are two large gable-end flush chimneys rising six courses above the roofline, and capped with semicircular spark guards; these have very broad stacks being almost half the width of the end walls. The gable roof features cast iron eagle ice breaks. The main or south facade, facing the road, has six irregular bays, with 12-light doors in the third and fifth bays from the west end on the first floor, and five irregularly placed windows on the second story. Evidence on the stonework remains that a one-story hip-roofed porch once sheltered the first floor of this facade. On the north facade, all three floors once held a central entrance, but those on the first and second floors are blocked while the 12-light basement door remains. Windows on both facades are 6/6 sash. The east gable end is three bays wide, with 6/6 sash windows in the outer bays on the first and floors. A slightly shorter 6/6 window pierces the basement in the north bay, and the south bay holds a small 6-light window. The attic gable holds three regularly spaced 6-light casement windows. The west gable end holds three 6/6 sash windows per floor, except for the first-floor center bay, which holds a doorway, now blocked. Evidence of a former porch sheltering this doorway remains on the stonework. The attic gable holds three 6-light casement windows, two panes wide each. There are two large board-and-batten barns and a garage on the property. To the north of the Inn is the Little Meadows Valley which, today, is a picturesque mountain meadow that has remained largely untouched by civilization.
The Tomlinson Inn was one of the earliest hostelries on the National Road, America's first Federally financed highway. The road began in Cumberland and reached the Little Meadows by 1815. Three years later, Jesse Tomlinson built an inn, the Stone House, along the newly opened road. Tomlinson had previously operated a tavern, The Red House, on Braddock's Road located to the north. The tavern on the National Road, operated by tenants, not the Tomlinson family, flourished for several decades. Albert Gallatin who as Secretary of the Treasury had urged the creation of the National Road, stayed there. In 1845, James K. Polk stopped at the Inn on the way to his inauguration. Citizens of nearby Grantsville used the Inn as a social gathering place. The Little Meadows valley has 18th century historical associations. General Braddock's army encamped at the Little Meadows, June 17-18, 1755, on the march from Fort Cumberland to Fort Duquesne during the French and Indian War. While at Fort Cumberland, Braddock had sent an advance party to clear a trail (Braddock's Road) through the mountain wilderness to the Little Meadows and to establish a camp site there. Braddock and the army comprised of British and American soldiers including George Washington struggled over the mountains and through dense woods to the Little Meadows, the army's fourth camp after leaving Fort Cumberland. It took 10 days to cover the 24 miles.