From Colonial times until the late 19th century, taverns occupied almost every crossroad and trading center. They were the center of life for rural communities. This is where mail was received, goods were traded, travelers slept, newspapers were read, and local news shared - as well as where hard liquor was imbibed.
Higgins Tavern was built in 1823, not long after the Georgetown-to-Brookeville Turnpike (present Georgia Avenue) was constructed. This tavern is unique because it was owned by women — which was unusual since it was rare for women to visit taverns - Lucretia Beall from 1823 to 1867, and Margaret Higgins from 1867 until her death in 1905, although it is referred to in historical records by the names of the men with whom they lived, Thomas Higgins and Hilleary Orme Higgins respectively. The original log structure was added to in the mid 1800s.
Higgins Tavern gained a bit of notoriety in October 1872 when a meeting of the Democratic party was held here, attended by Horace Greeley, candidate for president; John Ritchie, candidate for re-election to Congress; and Frank Brown, candidate for Maryland House of Delegates.
In the early 1920s the property was sold to Oscar Martin who operated Martin's Dairy, processing milk brought in by local farmers, for half a century. The Martin family also had a very popular ice cream parlor on the premises. The Tavern building was the Martin Family home during this time.