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Middleton Tavern


There’s a great scene near the end of “Raiders of the Lost Ark” where Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) threatens to blow up the Ark of the Covenant with a rocket launcher if the Nazis don’t release his girlfriend, Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen). His rival, French archaeologist Rene Belloq (Paul Freeman) calls his bluff. In daring Jones to blow the Ark “back to God,” Belloq says, “We are just passing through history,” then points to the Ark and adds, “But this . . . this IS history!”.

I have passed through the Middleton Tavern in Annapolis on a couple of occasions over the years. And passing through this historic establishment is indeed like passing through history. And that is because it is indeed history. Established in 1750 by Horatio Middleton, it is among the oldest continuously operating taverns in the United States. Famous customers? George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin all frequented the place, as did members of the Continental Congress after meeting in the State House to do such things as ratify the Treaty of Paris or accept the resignation of General Washington’s commission.

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