The History of Crab Louie’s Seafood Tavern
Crab Louie’s Seafood Tavern is a historical landmark with significant events spanning 250 years.
The Midlothian area is the site of the first coal mines in Virginia, and was largely controlled by the wealthy Wooldridge family. In circa 1745, two Wooldridge brothers built this house and called it “Midlothian.” The brothers came to this country from Scotland; one from the town of East Lothian, the other from West Lothian. They compromised on the name, thus calling it “Midlothian”. The name was also given to the mines the family owned, and later to the town which grew around the property.
“Midlothian” was the private residence of Abraham S. Wooldridge, who served as a major during the “War of 1812.” His reputation for hospitality was so widely regarded, drivers using the Lynchburg-Richmond stagecoach used the home as a refreshment stop for their passengers.
The most famous resident of the house was Colonel William Wooldridge, a Civil War hero who fought with Jeb Stuart’s cavalry.
The property was inherited by the Wooldridge’s Hancock descendants. Dr. Jefferson Hancock practiced medicine in a small building behind the house, beginning somewhat of a legacy of physicians in the area. In 1893, Dr. John Bowler Fisher began his practice in the office previously used by Dr. Hancock. Dr. Fisher married Ann Elizabeth Jewett. Dr. “Willie” Morrissette, son of Margaret Jewett Fisher and step-son of Dr. Fisher, was born here in 1919. Dr. Morrissette’s practice, now called “Midlothian Family Practice,” is one of the largest in the area, housing several physicians, including son Dr. “Phillip” Morrissette.
In 1875, the property was purchased by John J. Jewett and his wife, Mary Ann Jones. Their six children were born here. They ran a popular boarding house and renamed the property “The Sycamores” because of the abundance of sycamore trees in the vicinity. The Jewett family owned the property for one hundred years.
In 1975, the home was converted into a restaurant, the “Sycamore Inn.” Surrounding acreage was developed into the Sycamore Square Village Shopping center.
In April, 1976, a tragic fire partially destroyed the east wing. The structure was rebuilt in 1977 housing “Schrafftís Crepes and Cream.” In 1981, a unique seafood restaurant was opened under the name “Crab Louie’s Seafood Tavern.”
Although this site has changed names and owners several times during the past two and a half centuries, the commitment to preserve the tradition and heritage of this establishment has not. We appreciate your patronage and hope you feel at home in our house.