City Tavern

Also known as: Semmes' Tavern, Indian King, Columbian Inn, Georgetown Hotel
3206 M St., NW., Washington, District of Columbia


Historic American Buildings Survey Russell Jones, Photographer July, 1959 NORTH (FRONT) ELEVATION

Photo taken for the Historic American Buildings Survey


Street View 


City Tavern was center for a large and important cross-section of early capital and national history. Its first proprietor was Clement Sewell who was innkeeper until 1799. Charles Mclaughlin followed until 1801, then Joseph Sermes until 1805. Sermes operated under the sign of the Indian King and established it a a stop on stage routes to and from the Federal City. The tavern has close associations with Jefferson and Adams. Jefferson's letters reveal that he held the place in high regard and that he recommended it to important visitors. Plans were laid here for greeting John Adams in 1800 as he arrived at the District boundary and he was escorted to the White House by Georgetown citizens. Townspeople later entertained him at City Tavern with an official dinner on June 56, 1800. It was President Adams in 1804, who commended its central location to the artist,Charles Wilson Peale. -- Historic American Buildings Survey

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on January 17, 1992
Reference number
Architectural style
Areas of significance
Commerce; Entertainment/Recreation; Politics/Government; Architecture
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
A - Event; C - Design/Construction
Property type
Historic functions
Hotel; Restaurant
Current function
Periods of significance
1875-1899; 1850-1874; 1800-1824; 1750-1799; 1825-1849
Significant year
Number of properties
Contributing buildings: 2

Update Log 

  • April 27, 2017: New Street View added by Michael Miller
  • June 22, 2012: New Street View added by wdzinc
  • May 12, 2012: Imported photos from HABS/HAER

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