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Red Land Club, formerly Swan Tavern, on the Northeast corner of Park and East Jefferson Streets

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he Swan Tavern or Red Land Club is supposed to be an example of the “Federal Detached House.” The frames on the building are all white, and there seem to be two full stories on the building. Although there is a porch covering the first story, it is only partially visible to the right of the photograph. The building is made of brick and may have undergone some reconstruction because the brickwork does not match throughout the building. A stop sign is visible next to the building marking an intersection, and to the left of the photograph, there is a car in a parking space next to the building. There is also a car in front of the building and another brick building next door. The photo was taken by Alaville Magruder.  The Swan tavern resided at 300 Park Street, where a brick townhouse now stands. Jack Jouett, whose father owned The Swan, made the tavern famous. In 1781, Jefferson and Virginia’s government quit Richmond under threat of capture by the British, and reconvened in Charlottesville. Jouett rode through the night on back roads from Louisa County to warn Governor Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, Richard Henry Lee and other members of the General Assembly of the approach of British forces under the command of Colonel Banastre Tarleton. Eluding capture, most legislators fled to safety in Staunton. Tarleton’s men destroyed some court records and military stores, but spared the town from destruction. Jack Jouett, Sr. purchased the land in 1773, and remained the proprietor of the Swan Tavern until his death in 1802. In 1832, the tavern tumbled down and a townhouse was erected on the site. Samuel Leitch, Jr. lived with his family in the townhouse for years after its construction. Now, the Red Land Club resides at the site of the old Swan Tavern and restricts membership to male attorneys.  Received by the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society on February 23, 1995 from the sister of the photographer, Miss Evelina Magruder, in a two volume collection of photos, known as the Alaville Magruder Collection.

Visitor Comments:

Robert Peeler says - September 24, 2014

My grandfather, N T Shumate, was a member yet not an attorney. He resided in C’ville from 1919-1976. He died at the age of 98. His early years were spent in Martinsville VA. I’m certainly curious as to how he became a member.

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