Tredyffrin Easttown Historical Society
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Source: July, 1938 Volume 1 Number 4, Page 24

The General Jackson Inn

S. Paul Teamer

Page 24

The oldest road through Tredyffrin and Easttown is the Conestoga Road. It forms the northern boundary of the high school grounds at Berwyn. It ran from Philadelphia to the Conestoga Indian Villages on the Susquehanna south of Harrisburg.

About 1720, after Lancaster had been settled for ten or twelve years, it had become apparent that a road between Philadelphia and Lancaster was needed. A road was ordered surveyed branching from Conestoga in the vicinity of the Admiral Warren (one mile N. W. of the town of Malvern--1938) to Moores Mill on the Brandywine (Downingtown). Shortly after, it was surveyed through to Lancaster.

So today through Tredyffrin Easttown and down the "Main Line" some places we see the name Conestoga and at other places Old Lancaster Road. The two names were applied to the old road. Between the Warren Inn and Philadelphia it is one road with two names. Conestoga is the older.

In 1794-1800 the Lancaster turnpike was built from Philadelphia to Lancaster. It was a stone road. Sometimes it used the road bed of the Conestoga and sometimes a new bed was made.

The Conestoga is south of Lancaster Pike in Wayne. They come together at the Spread Eagle Inn, use the same road bed for a short distance. Then the Conestoga runs northerly for a short distance and moves westerly on a line about parallel to the Lancaster Pike. They rejoin in the vicinity of Daylesford and used the same bed from there through Paoli, Green Tree and on to the Warren Inn. (The earliest Conestoga ran about 100 to 200 feet south of the Lancaster pike for about a quarter of a mile east and a quarter of a mile west of the Daylesford railroad station.)

The General Jackson Inn, shown on the cover stood, and stands today, on the Conestoga Road (and Lancaster Turnpike) in the eastern end of Paoli, opposite the Chestnut Lane dead end. It was a well-run stage coach inn. From 1822-1830 Farmers Lodge #183, Free and Accepted Masons, had a meeting room there. Today, 1938, it is the Windmill Tearoom.

The Paoli is another famous old inn of the town of Paoli (the story and picture of which will appear in a subsequent issue of the Quarterly.) It stood on the northwest corner of the intersection of the Valley Road and the Lancaster Pike about one hundred feet in from each road. In 1832 the Paoli was made the terminal of the Pittsburgh stage coach line. The passengers were taken from the Paoli to Philadelphia on the horse drawn railroad cars.

There was great rivalry between the two inns--The Paoli and the General Jackson. In the 1830's they were run by two brothers, Joshua Evans and Randall Evans, during which time the rivalry was especially keen. It developed into unpleasantness so marked that the stage coach company moved its terminal to the Green Tree Hotel, one mile farther west.

The Lancaster Pike of a hundred or more years ago, just before the railroad was built, was a scene of great activity, and was for many years later. Many stage coaches passed carrying passengers to all points west, and return. They drove up with a great flourish and stopped at the principal Inns like the Spread Eagle, the General Jackson, and the Paoli.

Trains of huge Conestoga freight wagons--horse and mule drawn-transported practically all of the freight of the day. They stopped at the teamsters taverns like the Black Bear at Paoli.

Droves of cattle went by eastward to market. For all fresh beef, pork, and mutton had to be transported on the hoof in those days. The drivers stopped at Drovers Inns where there were large pens or corrals for the droves. (A drove of turkeys was no uncommon sight.)

Private vehicles and riders were numerous.

All together the turnpike was a very busy, exciting, colorful place, similar in that respect to the scene on it (now Lincoln Highway) today. By 1900 the turnpike was sunk to small importance, the railroad hauling all passengers, freight and cattle.


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