The Bayard House is considered to be the oldest building in historic Chesapeake City. The Bayard name first appeared in the history of the restaurant in the early 1780's. Samuel Bayard built the original manor in what was then known as Bohemia Village. With construction of the C&D canal beginning in 1804, the town came to life. By 1824, Bohemia Village was renamed Chesapeake City. Five years after the completion of the canal in 1829, the Bayard House was used as a public building for the very first time. It was converted into a tavern and inn and called Chick's Tavern.
Sara Beaston became the new owner in 1845. Clapboard additions were made in the back of the building along with a stable to accommodate more travelers and their horses. Thirteen years later the inn was sold again, this time to Richard Bayard, a descendent of the original owner. It was during his ownership that it became known as the Bayard House Inn. The hotel was so popular and crowded that beds had to be rented in shifts.
In 1899 the inn was sold to William Harriott, who renamed it the Harriott Hotel. He operated it as an inn and tavern until the 1919 prohibition. With prohibition being the law of the land, the tavern was used as a storefront to sell tobacco. Harriott, however, continued to sell whiskey illegally, mostly to his friends. In 1929, Harriott, caught up in the financial despair of the depression, hung himself in the hotel.
Captain Albert Battersby bought the inn in 1960 and kept it for 22 years. There have been several mainstays of the Bayard House since its original construction. The bar, known as the Hole-in-the-Wall Lounge, is one of these.
One of the walls of the bar had a hole in it through which drinks were served to be consumed outside and thus, the Hole-in-the-Wall Lounge was born. The lounge is located at ground level, just below the main entrance to the restaurant. Visit the Hole In The Wall.
Since 1985 the handsome brick building has been lovingly restored. No details were spared including the locks on the doors, which are replicas of the two original ones found in the attic.
The fully restored restaurant stands on the bank of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal and is a favorite eating spot for people from Cecil County and the Eastern Shore of Maryland, Washington, D.C., and from Delaware to New York.