Progressive Era to New Era Walker's Inn

Walker's Inn

The Stafford Athletic Club (SAC) was a period of segregation in the south and there was little mixing of races in sports teams. While the white teams played at the SAC, a venue for black sports teams developed less than two miles north.

In the mid-1920s, a man named Andrew “Norfolk” Walker (died c.1974) arrived in the Stafford Courthouse area. He was on foot and had walked and hitchhiked all the way from Jamestown, North Carolina. Across Route 1 from the present Stafford Hospital was a boarding house that catered to black travelers. Norfolk took up residence at the boarding house in return for his helping the owner with work around the place. He met Rosie Tyler (c.1904-1984) there and, in time, they discovered that they shared a common dream of running their own business. They started a small sandwich shop in or near the boarding house, married, and in 1941 the couple purchased twelve acres on the east side of Route 1. Here on a fine knoll, they constructed a cinderblock building they called Walker’s Inn. The second floor had a few rooms available for overnight guests, there was a restaurant on the first floor, and there were several small cabins down the hill and closer to Route 1. Miss Rosie was known for her fine cooking, especially for her chicken sandwiches, and the business flourished.

The timing of the Walker’s land purchase was excellent as in 1942 the U. S. Government greatly expanded the Quantico Marine Corps base. The newly built Walker’s Inn provided entertainment for black soldiers from both Quantico and Fort A. P. Hill. In short order, the inn was a destination for hundreds of customers between Washington and Richmond. Just to the north of the inn was a level area that became a ball field. Mr. Walker had his own baseball team, called the Stafford All Stars, consisting of African American players from Stafford, Fredericksburg, Triangle, and Alexandria. Other black teams came to Walker’s from Spotsylvania, Bowling Green, Dahlgren, Dumfries, Warrenton, and North Carolina to play the All Stars. The baseball games continued for much of the 1950s and 1960s. Eventually, Mr. Walker converted the baseball field into a motorcycle racecourse and people brought their motorcycles from all over the region to race there. Like the baseball games, the races drew large crowds of spectators. We don’t know when racing ceased here, but the inn burned in January of 1974.

In recent years, the hill on which Walker’s Inn stood, along with the ball field/race course, was bulldozed away and the ground cut down to form a bowl. In this bowl now stands Stafford Hospital Center.

Walker’s Inn is shown in the background.