The lodging place owned by the Throgmorton’s at the Sign of the Liberty Pole and Flag hosted George and Martha during their visit to the springs in September 1784. Mrs. Throgmorton was a distant Washington cousin. Noted inventor, James Rumsey was also a partner in the inn. It was there that Rumsey and Washington met and Washington began his support of Rumsey’s boat inventions. The run that crosses this lot could have been the location of Rumsey’s model pole boat demonstration that Washington endorsed during his 1784 stay.
In 1791, French traveler Ferdinand Bayard also lodged here and described in detail the rituals of the springs including afternoon tea. Bayard recorded that he, and about 40 other guests were “fed well” by Mrs. Throgmorton. Today, it is a vacant lot adjacent to The Country Inn on South Washington Street. Warm Springs Run crosses in front of the site as it flows north to empty into the Potomac River.
The Country Inn is built on the site of the famous 500-room Berkeley Hotel once owned and operated by noted 19th century writer and artist David Hunter Strother (Porte Crayon). Many historic notables including President James K. Polk summered here before the grand hotel burned in 1898. Once it was rebuilt as the Park View Inn by 1933, notable guests were again lodged at the south end of the park. By 1972 it was The Country Inn.
Rumsey’s boat demonstration. Remained at Bath all day and was showed the model of a boat constructed by the ingenious Mr. Rumsey, for ascending rapid currents by mechanism; the principles of this were not only shown, and fully explained to me, but to my very great satisfaction, exhibited in practice in private under the injunction of secrecy, until he saw the effect of an application he was about to make to the assembly of this state for a reward. The model and its operation upon the water, which had been made to run pretty swift, not only convinced me of what I before thought next to, if not quite impracticable, but that it might be turned to the greatest possible utility in inland navigation; and in rapid currents; that are shallow — and what adds vastly to the value of the discovery, is the simplicity of its works; as they may be made by a common boat builder or carpenter, and kept in order as easy as a plow, or any common implement of husbandry on a farm.
Washington’s Diary – September 6, 1784