The Birthplace of Raleigh
The story of today's capital city begins over 200 years ago when North Carolina was asked to ratify the United States Constitution. State Senators from the mountains, the Piedmont, and the coast were tasked to convene and debate this new idea, and they eventually voted to become a part of the United States.
At the time, the capital of North Carolina was on the coast, in the city of New Bern. This was extremely inconvenient for the many Senators that did not live nearby and they often opted not to make the difficult and long trip east. The Senators that did make the trip found few amenities or accommodations in New Bern. Political meetings became too meager to be productive and after failing once again to reach a quorum of voting members, the legislature decided it was time to find a more hospitable location for the constitutional convention. Some of these Senators decided it was time to push for a new capital city, too.
After some discussion, the commission decided that the only place large enough to hold the delegation necessary for ratification was a Tavern in the middle of nowhere owned by a man by the name of Isaac Hunter.
Any North Carolinian who had to travel across the state knew of Isaac Hunter’s Tavern. The Tavern was known as the best pit stop along the way – with more than enough warm beds and cold beer for all weary travelers. Isaac Hunter’s hospitality and generosity was known throughout the land, as was his favorite spirit– Cherry Bounce.
Countless meetings were held in the tavern, and even more spirits were consumed. As the men continued to work long nights, a senator by name of Joel Lane (who owned a large amount of land around the Tavern) started to encourage his fellow senator’s to loosen up a little. He occasionally footed the bill for long nights of debating, drinking, and merrymaking on the side. Drunk on cherry bounce, the answer became clear to them all – Isaac Hunter’s tavern was as good as it gets.
Because of Isaac Hunter’s hospitality (in the truest sense of the word) and thanks to the amenities that his tavern offered the community, the commission’s decision on the new capital was now obvious. North Carolina ratified the Constitution and Joel Lane quickly agreed to sell the government a large chunk of his land. The commission passed a law stating that the Capital of North Carolina always had to be within ten miles of Isaac Hunter’s Tavern! In 1792, Raleigh officially became North Carolina's capital and the rest is history.
As we stand today - a representative of the original Isaac Hunter's Tavern - we never underestimate the power of good hospitality and strong cherry bounce!
Original Isaac Hunter's Tavern
4:30pm - 2:00am
112 Fayetteville St.
Raleigh, NC 27601
Interior of Original building
112 Fayetteville St. Raleigh, NC 27601
Isaac Hunter's Tavern Historical Marker
Located on Wake Forest Rd.