Tavern was not always a tavern. It was originally a home built by Selah
Strong in 1703 on what is now Route 25A in East Setauket on the way to
Port Jefferson. After Selah died, his son, Thomas sold the property to
the Woodhulls, who sold it to Captain Austin Roe. Austin Roe made it into
a tavern. Now it is a private
home on a private road named Millie Lane in East Setauket.
A tavern is a bar, restaurant and a hotel put together. For example, you could go get a drink then rent a room for the night. People would stop at taverns or inn for the night as they traveled. Roe Tavern was a popular place.
Austin Roe, born March 2, 1748, was an important member of The Culper Spy Ring. He was a boyhood friend with Caleb Brewster, Benjamin Tallmadge, and Abraham Woodhull who were other Long Island Spies. He rode into New York City to get or give secret information to or from Robert Townsend. He would give or get this information to or from Abraham Woodhull. He never got caught because when he was questioned by British soldiers he would say he is getting supplies and doing business for his tavern.
One of the proudest moments of Setuaket history took place in this gigantic tavern. It was the night George Washington slept in the Roe Tavern on April 22, 1790. George Washington was touring Long Island to thank the Long Island Spies after the Revolutionary War. When we say that George Washington slept here, we really mean it! Here is a piece from Washington’s diary saying that he went:
"to the house of Capt. Roe, which is tolerably decent with obliging people in it."
Austin Roe moved to Patchogue in 1798 where he founded Roe’s Hotel. He died at age 81 in 1830.
To read more about the spy ring click here!
This is the main staircase. It is the original!
This is the staircase that the slaves would have to use. It is in the back of the house.
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