South Carolina Picture Project

Foster’s Tavern — Spartanburg, South Carolina

SC Picture Project  |  Spartanburg County  |  Foster’s Tavern

This home in Spartanburg was built as a lodge and tavern around 1808 by Anthony Foster. The property was a stop on a well-traveled stagecoach route, and noted guests include former United States Senator and Vice President, John C. Calhoun, as well as Bishop Francis Asbury, who helped establish Methodism in the South.

Foster's Tavern

Ann Helms of Spartanburg, 2010 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Construction on the tavern began in 1801; due to the craftsmanship of the structure, it took Foster seven years to complete the project. Handmade bricks between 18 and 14 inches thick comprise the home’s exterior, including the pair of twin chimneys.

Foster's Tavern

Ann Helms of Spartanburg, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

In 1825, well after Foster’s Tavern had been established, John Glenn purchased 500 acres of neighboring property, including a mineral spring. Glenn subsequently built an inn in 1836. Visitors traveled to his new resort, called Glenn Springs, to experience the spring’s “healing powers,” as touted by the owner. Foster’s Tavern was the last stop on the stagecoach route before Glenn Springs.

Foster's Tavern Barn

Ann Helms of Spartanburg, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The inn at Glenn Springs was later replaced with a grand hotel which served some of the most affluent guests in South Carolina. Yet Foster’s Tavern remained in business throughout the early heyday of the adjacent resort town. The stately columns and second story balcony were added to the structure in 1845.

Foster's Tavern Interior

Ann Helms of Spartanburg, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The home is now a private residence and has remained in the same family since 1922. A family cemetery rests on the property.

Foster's Tavern Spartanburg

Bill Blanton of Inman, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Foster’s Tavern is listed in the National Register:

Located at the intersection of the old Pickneyville and Georgia roads, a well-traveled stage route, Foster’s Tavern has been a historic and architecturally unique upcountry landmark for more than 150 years. Not only is it an imposing reminder of stagecoach days, but its association with such nationally prominent leaders such as John C. Calhoun and Bishop Francis Asbury also add to its historic significance. The southwest corner room on the tavern’s second floor is traditionally called the John C. Calhoun Room; other guests always moved out when Calhoun stopped here on his travels between Columbia and Fort Hill. In an 1810 diary, Bishop Asbury, who founded Methodism in South Carolina, mentions stopping at Foster’s Tavern. The tavern was built by Anthony Foster and appears on the Robert Mills atlas of 1825. Begun about 1801, this painstakingly crafted mansion took seven years or more to complete. It is constructed of bricks handmade in the area and features “tied” chimneys at each end of a gable roof and handcarved woodwork including two rare bowed mantels. The entrance portico was added in 1845 and the porches about 1915.

Reflections on Foster’s Tavern

Foster's Tavern Cemetery

Ann Helms of Spartanburg, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Contributor Ann Helms shares, “Gary Poole has written about the tavern’s haunted history and describes the tale of an unknown traveler who hung himself in one of the rooms, and whose horse disappeared from a locked stable. His grave is marked by a blank
stone in the corner of the cemetery.”

Add your own reflections here.

Foster’s Tavern Info

Address: 191 Cedar Springs Road, Spartanburg, SC 29302
GPS Coordinates: 34.921769,-81.887018

Foster’s Tavern Map

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27 Comments about Foster’s Tavern

SCIWAYNo Gravatar says:
June 13th, 2018 at 6:30 pm

Hello Teresa, unfortunately we cannot grant permission but hopefully you’ll be able to touch base with the owner and they could better answer your questions about that. Good luck!

Teresa BrandtNo Gravatar says:
June 13th, 2018 at 3:00 pm

I would love to investigate this beautiful home if I could get permission, my team name is Spirit Movers Paranormal. I have lived here my whole life and love the rich history it holds. Thank you for writing about this.

SCIWAYNo Gravatar says:
October 11th, 2017 at 9:43 pm

Most stories are relative and based around folklore and fun more than fact. It certainly could be but it is not really provable.

Kianna AytchNo Gravatar says:
October 11th, 2017 at 4:29 pm

Is this house really haunted?

SCIWAYNo Gravatar says:
October 6th, 2017 at 9:17 pm

The house is a private residence but if you contact the owner they may be open to arranging a tour. We do not have their contact information but tax records may be helpful in locating it. Hope this helps.

April WagnerNo Gravatar says:
October 5th, 2017 at 4:56 pm

Can you take a tour of this house and the cemetery?

Jeff ThoroughmanNo Gravatar says:
August 24th, 2017 at 7:15 pm

I just read the history of the house, and it was fascinating. I went to school across the street at Cooperative/ E P Todd Elementary in the 70’s, and I remember it well. One of my classmates was a Ruff, and it was referred to as the Ruff House. We all knew the story of the man who hung himself on the second floor. Amazing to find out that was actually true!

Nancy WalshNo Gravatar says:
April 26th, 2017 at 9:14 pm

When I took my piano lessons from Mrs. Ruff, both streets that are four lanes now were only one lane each way. The elementary school was across the street where the drug store is now. That’s were our piano recitals were held.

Laura E ScottNo Gravatar says:
April 26th, 2017 at 2:08 pm

Oh, and a lot of our ancestors are buried in the cemetery behind the house. I believe Anthony Foster is buried there as well.

Laura E ScottNo Gravatar says:
April 26th, 2017 at 2:06 pm

Anthony Foster was my Great Great Great Great Grandpa. Very interesting information. Thank you so much for sharing.

SCIWAYNo Gravatar says:
April 26th, 2017 at 9:29 am

What a fascinating connection! We have to agree with you that it is an absolutely beautiful house!

Foster YarboroughNo Gravatar says:
April 24th, 2017 at 8:19 pm

My great-grandmother, Charlotte Thomasine Foster Yarborough, lived in this house. Many of my ancestors are buried in the family cemetery near the house. Several years ago I visited the house and cemetery with other family members. Such a beautiful place!

Angelica KuhnNo Gravatar says:
February 19th, 2017 at 7:55 pm

That’s the house with the haunted piano. They got it in, but could not get it out 🙂

Earl NolanNo Gravatar says:
February 18th, 2017 at 1:00 pm

This is my family’s house. My grandpa’s sister used to live there. She’s buried in the cemetery behind it. People says it’s haunted, lol.

DianneNo Gravatar says:
February 18th, 2017 at 10:32 am

I have always wanted to go inside that place. When my kids were small, they said they saw something white standing in window upstairs! Every time I go by that house it always attracts my attention! The kids always said there was a ghost in that window!

Belinda OquendoNo Gravatar says:
February 17th, 2017 at 11:37 pm

I drive by this house everyday. I would love to one day take a look inside. I’m sure it’s beautiful.

Barbara Foster CrockerNo Gravatar says:
February 17th, 2017 at 9:03 pm

My mother, Kathryn Barnett, and Ada Lancaster Ruff were first cousins. I also took piano lessons from Ada Ruff. My mother told me a lot of ghost stories about this house that she experienced when she would spend the night. I also lived in Glenn Springs for 12 years on Boys Home Road and occassionally drank the mineral water. My parents would go to the old hotel for dances on Saturday night back in the day.

Debi ThomasNo Gravatar says:
February 17th, 2017 at 8:10 pm

I always wanted to see the inside of this house. We have passed it so many times. We live close and pass by there a lot! It’s so beautiful. I would live to see the gravestones as well!

Freddie DiazNo Gravatar says:
February 18th, 2017 at 7:24 am


ErrollNo Gravatar says:
February 17th, 2017 at 7:34 am

So this is not in Glenn Springs, rather Camp Croft?

Nancy WalshNo Gravatar says:
April 27th, 2017 at 7:01 pm

When I took lessons around 1963 or so, the fireplaces were burning coal chunks. Man, that was some hot heat. I always left sweating.

Faye Thornton WatersNo Gravatar says:
February 16th, 2017 at 6:32 pm

I remember taking music lessons here in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The room where the piano was located was always so cold! There was a fireplace in the room but I don’t remember ever seeing it being used. I’m glad to see that the house has been restored. Mrs. Ruff was a wonderful piano teacher she was very patience and kind. The highlight of our piano lessons was getting to go to the store across the street and buying a hot dog. They were the best ever and probably less than 50 cents!!

John NeuseNo Gravatar says:
February 16th, 2017 at 6:06 pm

I grew up in a neighborhood not far from this house, heard all the stories, and now work across the street at the Bi-Lo. Every day I drive by it and every day it amazes me how this house/tavern is still here despite the busy roads and businesses that surround it. I’ve never been inside, but always have wanted to. As a future history teacher, it has always and will always stay with me how historical and important Spartanburg has been through the years to upstate SC.

KristyNo Gravatar says:
February 17th, 2017 at 4:37 pm

Gary, our homeschool art class would love to tour the house and see the gorgeous architecture.

Gary PooleNo Gravatar says:
February 16th, 2017 at 8:17 pm

Mary Ada said, “Come see us sometime.”

Nancy Vise WalshNo Gravatar says:
February 16th, 2017 at 5:03 pm

I also took years of piano lessons from Mrs. Ruff.

Mike Mabrey says:
February 8th, 2016 at 11:53 am

I grew up right across the street from this beautiful home just southeast from downtown Spartanburg (on the road to Pauline & Clinton)… lots of memories playing in the house and on the property, plus I took 5 years of piano lessons from Mrs. Ruff there. It really got run down for a time, but it has been slowly refurbished by a family member who has moved back in the home. I'd love to visit it again and say hello to my buddy, Casper, the friendly ghost! :- )


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