History of the Old Spring Tavern

Old Spring Tavern
3706 Nakoma Road, Madison, Dane County
Builder: Charles C. Morgan
Date of Construction: 1854

Charles C. Morgan built the Old Spring Tavern in 1854 with brick made from clay found on a nearby slope. Morgan, in partnership with James W. Gorham, chose the site as a perfect stopping place on the old Madison-Monroe stagecoach road leading to southwest Wisconsin lead mining area. A large spring behind the house was a major asset to the property because it provided water for traveling horses and oxen.

Like many stagecoach inns, the building is solidly constructed. Craftsmen used solid load-bearing masonry three wythes thick on the first floor and two on the second, creating a massive wall that is 22 inches thick at the base. It retains the Greek Revival style common to stagecoach inns, characterized by its gable roof with returned eaves and end chimneys.

In 1860 Morgan sold the inn to Gorham. Gorham closed the inn after joining the Union cause in the Civil War. In 1895, he turned the building into a private residence. The Gorham family sold the property in 1925 to Professor James G. Dicksen. He remodeled the inn and built a stone wall along Nakoma Road. The Daughters of the American Revolution placed a plaque on the wall that reads “Old Spring Tavern- 1929. Stagecoach Station on Road to Early Lead Mines. Home of Gorham Family 1860-1922. Built 1854.”

Preservation File on the Old Spring Tavern from the City of Madison