""Hilaritas Sapientiae et Bonae Vitae Proles"" Top 5 Page for this destination Williamsburg Favorite Tip by deecat

Williamsburg General: 49 reviews and 51 photos

  Apollo Room in Raleigh Tavern
by deecat

Favorite thing: Painted in gold above the mantel of the Raleigh Tavern's Apollo Room is the motto, "Hilaritas Sapientiae et Bonae Vitae Proles" which means "Jollity, the offspring of wisdom and good living".

This tavern was named after Sir Walter Raleigh who himself tried to colonize Virginia in 1585! His sculptured bust stood above the door of the tavern where there often were balls (dances) held because the colonial Virginians just loved to dance. The likes of Thomas Jefferson and George Washington either ate here or attended functions here.

You could buy theater tickets and merchandise here at the Tavern. Unfortunately, slaves were auctioned from its steps.

The Raleigh Tavern's famed Apollo Room was where a group of College of William and Mary students founded Phi Beta Kappa in 1779. In 1859 the Raleigh Tavern was, it was said, "willfully burnt down"! The Raleigh was not rebuilt.

When restoration of Williamsburg began, there were two modern brick stores on the site where the raleigh Tavern had stood. Excavations began in 1928 and they unearthed the foundations and artifacts from the Tavern.

In addition, using drawings from Lossing's book, A Pictorial Field-Book of the American Revolution as well as insurance policy sketches, they were able to precisely reconstruct the original Tavern.

Interestingly, Raleigh Tavern was the first exhibition building reconstructed, and that took place in 1932.

Fondest memory: I enjoyed seeing the Raleigh Tavern and was enthralled to see the Apollo Room where Phi Beta Kappa was founded.

The photo shows that particular room.

Today, you can purchase cookies, bread, and other baked produce at the Raleigh Tavern Bake Shop ^b in the Raleigh Tavern Kitchen

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated May 28, 2005
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