This home in Spartanburg was built as a lodge and tavern around 1808 by Anthony Foster. The property was a stop on a well-traveled stagecoach route, and noted guests include former United States Senator and Vice President, John C. Calhoun, as well as Bishop Francis Asbury, who helped establish Methodism in the South.
Construction on the tavern began in 1801; due to the craftsmanship of the structure, it took Foster seven years to complete the project. Handmade bricks between 18 and 14 inches thick comprise the home’s exterior, including the pair of twin chimneys.
In 1825, well after Foster’s Tavern had been established, John Glenn purchased 500 acres of neighboring property, including a mineral spring. Glenn subsequently built an inn in 1836. Visitors traveled to his new resort, called Glenn Springs, to experience the spring’s “healing powers,” as touted by the owner. Foster’s Tavern was the last stop on the stagecoach route before Glenn Springs.
The inn at Glenn Springs was later replaced with a grand hotel which served some of the most affluent guests in South Carolina. Yet Foster’s Tavern remained in business throughout the early heyday of the adjacent resort town. The stately columns and second story balcony were added to the structure in 1845.
The home is now a private residence and has remained in the same family since 1922. A family cemetery rests on the property.
Foster’s Tavern is listed in the National Register:
Located at the intersection of the old Pickneyville and Georgia roads, a well-traveled stage route, Foster’s Tavern has been a historic and architecturally unique upcountry landmark for more than 150 years. Not only is it an imposing reminder of stagecoach days, but its association with such nationally prominent leaders such as John C. Calhoun and Bishop Francis Asbury also add to its historic significance. The southwest corner room on the tavern’s second floor is traditionally called the John C. Calhoun Room; other guests always moved out when Calhoun stopped here on his travels between Columbia and Fort Hill. In an 1810 diary, Bishop Asbury, who founded Methodism in South Carolina, mentions stopping at Foster’s Tavern. The tavern was built by Anthony Foster and appears on the Robert Mills atlas of 1825. Begun about 1801, this painstakingly crafted mansion took seven years or more to complete. It is constructed of bricks handmade in the area and features “tied” chimneys at each end of a gable roof and handcarved woodwork including two rare bowed mantels. The entrance portico was added in 1845 and the porches about 1915.
Reflections on Foster’s Tavern
Contributor Ann Helms shares, “Gary Poole has written about the tavern’s haunted history and describes the tale of an unknown traveler who hung himself in one of the rooms, and whose horse disappeared from a locked stable. His grave is marked by a blank
stone in the corner of the cemetery.”