Michael O. Bourne
Indian Queen Tavern and Black's Store
Market Street (MD 267), Charlestown, Cecil County
These two mid-18th century structures stand on an embankment, behind two picket fences enclosing small yards. The left-hand building is Black's Store, originally the Red Lyon Inn; on the right is the Indian Queen Tavern, later called Hotel. The two taverns and their remaining outbuildings form a court on the north side. Behind the Indian Queen is a log kitchen with a loft. Behind the Red Lyon is a weatherboard spring house. Between these two is a two-story smokehouse. The lower story of the smokehouse is stone with a door on the west side and a brick grill set in stone on the south. The second story is brick with a door in the south wall. Traces of an exterior wood stair up to the second floor remain. The Indian Queen is a two-story frame structure, 30' square, with the interior quartered into four rooms. A massive chimney rises through the middle of the tavern with a corner fireplace in each room on the first floor and two corner fireplaces on the second. The house is of post and beam construction with brick nogging for insulation. The front and rear are covered by wide boards fitted shiplap fashion, each with a beaded lower edge. The gable ends were recovered with weatherboard in the 19th century, and the 18th century gable ends and the bargeboard which trimmed them, were restyled. The rebuilt Victorian roof extends 14" beyond the gable with a dripboard of repetitive fleur-de-lis design. A galleried porch extends across the front. West of the Indian Queen is the Red Lyon Inn, used as a store by the Black family in the 19th century. This is an L-shaped, 1 1/2-story, frame building with a gambrel roof across the south elevation and a gable roof on the ell. The Red Lyon was built in three stages. The core of the building is a room 23' wide and 19' deep, constructed of square hewn poplar logs covered on the exterior with siding. The siding on the front is identical with the wide shiplap planks on the front of the Indian Queen. The shiplap siding on the back is different with the beads cut in the upper edge of each plank. Later in the 18th century, the rear ell was added to the west of the original building.
The Indian Queen and Black's Store are two 18th century taverns that date from the period of prosperity of Charlestown, Maryland. Chartered in 1742, Charlestown prospered largely because of its location on the Annapolis-Philadelphia post road at the ferry crossing on the Chesapeake Bay. The traffic on the post road generated enough business to support several taverns in Charlestown. By the turn of the 19th century, Elkton had eclipsed Charlestown as the urban center of Cecil County. The financial decline worked as a freezing agent to retain Charlestown's 18th century character and many of its original buildings. The Indian Queen and Black's Store found new uses illustrative of the changing nature of the town from an important transportation center to a rural village.