The road on which Booth and Herold rode up to the Surratt House.
Image Source: Osborn Oldroyd
This is so cool I have always wanted to see a picture of what the area around Surratt’s looked like before the road became modernized..
In 1865, there was very little to see except the Surratt Tavern and surrounding farm buildings. The portion of the building with porch on the left was a general store from the post-Civil War period and was there until the 1960s. In the Surratt era, his livery stable was on that corner. Today, a Citgo station is there. Across the road from the stable was a blacksmith shop that was a rambling wreck by the 1920s. That was the sum total of what Booth and Herold would have seen at midnight on April 14/15, 1865.
In the distance, you can see a church steeple. It is either Christ Episcopal Church or St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church. Both were built in 1875, and neither original church is there now – only their 20th-century replacements.
There is an engraving which appeared in Harper’s newspaper in 1867, at the time of John Surratt’s arrest and trial that gives a very accurate artist’s rendition of what the crossroads looked like.
From what my mother remembered, the road was not leveled and paved until the 1920s. It had been put through in 1850 as the first direct, north-south land route out of DC into the prosperous counties of Southern Maryland and was called the New Cut Road. Up until the 1950s, it was still a major route out of the city and had become Maryland Route 5. It led to the wonderful slot machines in Charles County and to most of the beaches — very heavily traveled on weekends. Now, it’s dual-lane counterpart (about a mile away) is heavily traveled all hours of the day and night as a major commuter route. Mr. Surratt would have loved to invite all those people in to drink at his bar!,
I just want to thank you for sharing the added information about Surratt’s and the surrounding area.I will be visiting my aunt that lives in Baltimore in September,and I am going to take a road trip to Surratt’s Tavern and hopefully the Mudd house. I also Ford’s on list so I am looking forward to visiting these places that I have read about since I was a young girl..
If you visit on a Wednesday-Friday, I am usually in my office. Please stop in and introduce yourself.
I will be in Baltimore for a week,and I would enjoy meeting you while I visiting Surratt’s. It will all just depend on how my schedule goes..
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