Home : Quarterly Archives : Volume 31
Tredyffrin Easttown Historical Society
Source: January 1993 Volume 31 Number 1, Pages 15–26
The inns of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century were often more than just a tavern stand, the properties frequently including, in addition to the tavern itself, a number of outbuildings of various types, associated businesses, and valuable farm acreage.
Decriptions of these properties are found in the notices or advertisements for their sale in contemporary county newspapers.
In our first advertisement, on the next page, is a description of the Lamb Tavern, from a sale notice in the Village Record of February 26, 1823. The Lamb was located a short distance to the east of the 15th milepost on the Philadelphia and Lancaster Turnpike, on the north side of what is now Old Lancaster Road, just east of Valley Forge Road, in Devon. (It is now a private residence and still standing.)
The building was originally constructed in about 1805 by George Rees as a store, using logs from the original building of the Baptist Church in the Great Valley. In 1812 it became a tavern when Rees obtained a license to keep a public house there, after twice before having had his petitiom for a tavern license rejected. As Julius Sasche observed in his The Wayside Inns on the_ Lancaster Road, "The continuing success of travel and patronage [during the early years of the turnpike] soon necessitated the erection of more taverns. ... The first of these new turnpike inns stood about three-quarters of a mile west of the [Spread] Eagle, on the eastern end of what was then known as 'Glassley Commons'."
Rees apparently operated the inn himself for only one year. The innkeeper for the next three years was John Lewis, and in 1816 Jacob Clinger became the tenant innkeeper, it being noted in his petition for a tavern license that the house "was owned by George Rees" and had previously been "occupied by John Lewis".
Jacob Clinger was still the innkeeper in 1823 when the "valuable tavern stand" was offered for sale by Rees and, in fact, continued as the tavern keeper until 1831, when he was succeeded by his son Henry. Henry Clinger, in turn, stayed on as innkeeper until 1839 when, as Sasche described it, "the necessity for a public house there had passed away".
from the Village Record February 26, 1823
A valuable Tavern Stand and Farm, At Public Sale.
Will, be sold, on Saturday, the 22d of March, on the premises, that Valuable Tavern and Farm, Sign of the LAMB:- situated in Tredyffrin Township, Chester County, on the Lancaster Turnpike, 15 miles from Philadelphia, at the intersection of the Valley Forge and Gulph Roads.- Consisting of about 75 Acres of Land.- 11 Acres of which are Woodland, the remainder is divided into convenient Fields, and in a high state of cultivation, with a large Apple Orchard, bearing Fruit of good Quality.- The Improvements are - a large Two Story Stone timise, with four Rooms on a Floor - good Stone Sheds and Stabling, and two pumps of good Water. ALSO, a Two Story Stone Dwelling, with two Rooms on a Floor; adjoining which is a log Barn, and a Pump of good Water.
Terms made known at the time of sale, which will accommodating to the Purchaser. For further particulars inquire of
GEORGE REES, West Philadelphia.
A somewhat more detailed list of the outbuildings around an inn is found in the next advertisement, from the American Republican of November 16, 1816, offering for sale "that noted Tavern, Sign of the Stage", located at "Glassley, between the 15th and 16th milestones on the Philadelphia and Lancaster Turnpike Road".
A license for a public house at this place had first been granted eight years earlier, in 1808, to John Pugh. In 1811 the license was granted to John H. Davis, who apparently was the owner of the property. For the next fourteen years, beginning in 1812 and continuing through 1826, there was a succession of tenant innkeepers: the John Lewis who is described in the sale notice as the innkeeper at the Stage is presumably the same John Lewis that had previously "occupied" the Lamb from 1813 to 1815, and before that had been one year at the Stage, to which he returned in 1818
from the American Republican November 26, 1816
Will be Sold,
On Saturday the 7th of December next, on the premises, at one o'clock P. M. about 40 acres of
in lots of from two to five acres each. This property situate on the Baptist road, and once owned by Benjamin Brown, has too long arrested the admiring eye of the public to need a particular description here - it is sufficient to say, it stands unrivaled in this neighborhood, as to quality of timber or quantity per acre.
Will be sold, on the same day, that noted
TAVERN, Sign of the STAGE,
Situate of the Philadelphia and Lancaster turnpike, near the 15 mile stone, and now kept by John Lewis; connecting therewith about one hundred acres of land, 20 thereof in heavy timber. Its public situation - the house large and convenient - extensive sheds - livery stable - stone barn - smithshop and several dwelling houses for mechanics, constitute but parts of its advantages:- the fact is, it is well worth the attention of any man inclined to tavernkeeping, and who would choose to settle on a property where all further expense of building is unnecessary. Purchasers meet at John Lewis's - conditions, which will be easy, made known on day of sale, by
Jno. H. Davis.
Much the same appurtenances were to be found at the tavern "well known by the name of the Spring House Inn", offered for sale by George Kugler Sr. in an advertisement in the American Republican of November 5, 1833, its location..between the railroad and the turnpike, it was also pointed out, providing it with "conveniences ... to make lumber yards, &c. at the side of the railroad". It was also between the 15th and 16th milestones on the Turnpike, but nearer to the 16th milestone, at what is now the eastern end of Berwyn, by coincidence not far from the location of Fritz lumber yard today.
The Kugler family had first acquired the property in 1814, when it was purchased by John Kugler Jr. from William Torbert, who had operated the tavern from 1803 to 1810, and then leased it to different innkeepers over the next four years. (Torbert, in turn, had purchased the property from David Llewellyn, who had been granted the first license to operate a public house there.)
In 1820 the property was transferred to John Kugler Sr., and under the Kuglers, according to Burns, "the tavern first came into prominence as a first class hostelry". The tavern license petitions indicate that the Kuglers also renamed the tavern the General Washington in 1816, but, as Burns also observed, "the patrons continued to refer to it as the Springhouse".
In 1822 the operation of the tavern was leased to Henry Bell, and three years later, in 1825, to John Dane. After Dane's death in 1832 his widow took over as innkeeper, as indicated in this advertisement. The inn was thus also referred to as "Peggy Dane's tavern", though in her petitions for tavern licenses she identified it as the Sign of the Springhouse tavern.
from the American Republican November 5, 1833
A Valuable Tavern and Farm,
To be sold at public sale, on the premises on Friday the.29th day of November next, the sale to commence at one o'clock, P. M. of the said day.
That tavern, well known by the name of the
SPRING HOUSE INN,
and plantation, now occupied by Margaret Dane, situated in The township of Easttown, Chester county, adjoining the Pennsylvania Railroad and the Philadelphia and Lancaster turnpike road, and about 16 miles from Philadelphia, also adjoining lands of John Reese, Wm. Gamble and Benjamin Wetherby, Esq. and others, containing 97 acres and three quarters of an acre, more or less,
The improvements are a stone
three stories high, 50 feet front, and 32 feet deep, occupied as a tavern, with two pumps of good water near the said house; also a never failing spring of water near the house, over which spring is erected a convenient Stone house, also large stone livery stable, log barn, stone sheds, &c. There is on said premises, at a short distance from the tavern, a square Log house, and a
and a stone spring house over an excellent spring of water, the square log house is occupied as a tenant house. The arable land is in a good state of cultivation, well fenced into convenient fields, and there is a good portion of meadow on said premises; and also a large portion of good
and an orchard of apple trees, and other fruit trees. The Pennsylvania rail road passes immediately in the rear of the tavern house and is there level with said house, and the said turnpike road passes in front of it. The premises will be rendered more valuable by the conveniences which are thereon, to make lumber yards, &c. at the side of the railroad, in several places. -
Any persons wishing to view the premises before the day of the sale will call on the owner and subscriber, residing in Tredyffrin township, about three miles from the said premises, who will show the same to them. - The conditions of the sale will be made known on the day of sale.
JOHN KUGLER, Senr.
The Bear, more often identified as the Black Bear in the 19th century, was a wagoner's stand, as noted in its description in an advertisement for its sale by Randall Evans in the American Republican of December 10, 1833. It was located where "the road from Newtown Square to Howellville [now State Route 252]" crossed the Turnpike, on the southeast corner.
It was one of the older taverns in the area, the first license for it having been granted in 1786 to "Captain" John Phillips, who "was four years at the Blue Ball, [and] one year at the Leopard" 'before becoming the innkeeper at the Bear. At the end of the 18th century and beginning of the 19th century John Parker was the innkeeper, followed in 1807 by Hannah Parker, his "relict", but after 1810 no one person had the license for the tavern for more than a couple of years or so. When this advertisement appeared in 1833 the innkeeper was Abraham Beitler.
The property was purchased in the 1820s by Randall Evans, who also owned the General Jackson, about a quarter of a mile farther west.
from the American Republican December 10, 1833
Land and Tavern for Sale
Will be offered at Public sale on Friday, the third day of January next, on the premises, that well established stand, known by the name of the
Black Bear Tavern
situated in Tredyffrin township, on the Philadelphia and Lancaster turnpike road, between the 17th and 18th mile stones, including about sixty eight acres; twelve of which are woodland, the remainder well cultivated, enclosed with good fence, and divided into convenient fields. The buildings are a large tavern house, fifty eight feet in front, part new, a new stone barn, a livery stable, sheds, and oats house, a blacksmith shop with two fine hearths, a stone spring house over a constant spring of water.
There are also two wells of water, with pumps, one in front, the other at the back of the dwelling house. The Pennsylvania rail road passes within about five perches of the buildings. A public road, leading from Howellville to the Darby road, passes through the premises, between the house and sheds.
This stand has, in general, received a large share of wagon custom; and by its advantages as a place of business, it should invite the attention of persons desiring an establishment of this kind. Sale to commence at one o'clock, P. M. and conditions made known by
Dec. 10, 1833
N. B. The above property if not sold on said day, will then be held for rent.
(Apparently the tavern continued to be "held for rent": in 1834 Beitler was succeeded as the tenant innkeeper by Abraham Lapp, and beginning in 1837, after Lapp moved away, the house was kept by John Wampole for the next two years, followed in 1839 by John Zuck.)
In late 1839 the property was again offered for sale, along with other properties, by the assignees of Randall Evans. Among these other properties was also the former General Jackson Inn, which had been renamed the Franklin House in the previous year. Descriptions of both properties are included in the next advertisement, from the American Republican of November 12, 1839.
The General Jackson/Franklin House was located on the north side of the Turnpike near the 18th milestone, in what is now Paoli. (The building burned down in 1964, but is still remembered by some old-timers as the old Windmill Tea Room.) It was built by Randall Evans in 1836, to take advantage, according to Sasche, of the "reputation and prosperity" of the nearby Paoli Inn that was owned and kept by Randall's brother, Joshua Evans. (Sasche also noted, "Tradition tells us there were frequent outbursts of temper between the two brothers as one would find the other interfering with his regular patrons.")
After a sequence of tenant innkeepers during its early years, the General Jackson in 1823 was converted into a private residence. In 1836, however, it re-opened as an inn, with Randall Evans himself obtaining the tavern license. He continued as the innkeeper for the next few years, but in 1840 his petition for the renewal of his tavern license was rejected.
from the American Record November 12, 1839
Valuable Real Estate at Public Sale
Will be sold on Thursday, the 28th day of November, at one o'clock, P.M., on the premises, the following well-known property, situated in Tredyffrin township, Ches. co. Pa. viz:
No. 3 The Black Bear tavern and farm, situated on the Philad'a and Lancaster turnpike road, (between the 17 and 18 milestone,) and intersection of the Old Chester and Valley road, bounded by the lands of Joshua Evans, John Walton, and others, containing 54 acres 107 perches of land, of which 4 acres is excellent thriving chesnut timber, the remainder is divided into fields adapted to the size of the place, all having recently been limed and put under good fence. The improvements are a stone tavern house, about 60 by 30 ft., with a kitchen attached, a good BARN, livery stable and sheds adjoining.
A smith shop, smoke and spring houses, all of stone, there is also a pump at the front and another at the kitchen door. There is on the premises an orchard, and a stream of running water passes through it, with the above is 9 acres 35 perches of excellent woodland, about 1/4 of a mile north with a road leading to it. The above property has long been known as among the oldest stands on the Philad'a and Lancaster turnpike, and still receives its portion of patronage.
No. 4. Is a tavern and tract of land known as the Franklin House, situate on the Phil 'a. and Lancaster turnpike at the 18 mile stone, (having the Philad'a. and Columbia Rail way in the rear,) adjoining No. 3 and lands of Joshua Evans, and others, containing 16 acres 63 perches, on which is erected a highly finished stone tavern house, 36 by 50 ft., with a kitchen 23 by 26 ft. attached, with 4 rooms and a spacious hall upon the 1st floor, 5 on the second, garret divided into 4 apartments, all lathed and plastered; the first and 3d floors are counterceiled, and a piazza round three sides of the building - a smoke, wash, and ice house, a large stone barn, part of which is finished as a livery stable, a wagon and carriage house, a range of stone sheds nearly new and well located -- a stone spring house over a never failing spring; two frame tenant houses, a frame stable --all the above buildings are finished in a very superior style and at great expense, nothing having been left undone to add convenience and comfort. There is a pump at the kitchen and one at the front door whence water is conveyed into the barn yard. The land is highly cultivated, well divided and enclosed by a new substantial post fence of chesnut rails, an orchard of choice fruit trees has just been planted, the property is watered by a never failing stream; belonging to these premises is a tract of 4 acres 2 perches of excellent woodland, about 3-4 of a mile distant, and adjoining lot No. 1.
The property is much enhanced in value by the Phil 'a. and Columbia Rail way passing through, affording facilities to Phil 'a. several times every day, also to West Chester, Lancaster, Columbia and Harrisburg. A turnout has been made for the use of the public, and a warehouse erected in which the turnout terminates. The Canal Commissioners also have, within a few years, established a water station for the use of Locomotives on the road.
Its peculiar situation presents to private gentlemen, greater inducements than any seat in the neighborhood, being sufficiently distant from either road, to admit a handsome garden, and ensure as much privacy as could be desired; at the same time permitting if desired constant access to the public. The building has the appearance more of a private, than public house.
References can be made to Col. I. Wayne, Rob't. T. Evans, Esq., Phil'a., David Mcconkey, West Chester, Lewis Watson Howellville, Ches. co., Randal Evans, on the premises, or to the subscriber.
N. B. All persons having claims against the said Randall Evans will please to present them immediately to either of the above named subscribers.
Probably the most developed inn property along the Turnpike, and by the early 19th century the nucleus of a small village, was the Spread Eagle, "a few rods above the fourteenth milestone on the Turnpike", in the vicinity of the Spread Eagle Village shops today. It included more than 200 acres of "well improved" lands and a variety of buildings, including a tannery and a bark house, and was also the first post office in the area. (Although the tavern itself was located just over the township line in Radnor, the property extended into both Tredyffrin and Easttown townships.)
A description of the property is included in a notice of sale published in the American Republican for September 18, 1838 by Edward Siter.
The tavern property had been owned by the Siter family since 1791. (A license for an inn there had first been granted in 1769 to Adam Ramsover. Three years later Jacob Hinkel became the owner and innkeeper, followed by Alexander Clay, who took over in 1787 before selling the property to Adam Siter in 1791.) Edward Siter was the third member of the Siter family to operate the tavern: after Adam Siter, John Siter had kept the inn for sixteen years before Edward Siter took over. As a result of the prominence of the family, for many years the area around the tavern, in the vicinity of what is Strafford today, was known as Siterville.
On several occasions Edward Siter leased the operation of the house to a lessee-innkeeper: from 1814 to 1816 to John Watson; from 1817 to 1823 to David Wilson Jr.; and from 1823 to 1825 to Zenas Wells -- but took over as innkeeper himself for ten years, starting in 1826.
In 1836 Stephen Home became the innkeeper.
from the American Republican September 18, 1838
Valuable Real Estate at
To be sold on the premises, on Thursday the 11th of October next, at one o'clock, P.M. all the following valuable Real Estate, viz: All that well known and extensive establishment, THE
Spread Eagle Tavern,
With 105 acres of well improved land, situate in Radnor Township, Delaware county, Pa. about 14 miles west of Philadelphia, on the Philadelphia and Lancaster turnpike road. The improvements are a large STONE TAVERN HOUSE, 80 feet front, by 36 feet deep, three stories high, cellar under the whole; large two story stone kitchen adjoining the same; wash house, wood, cider, and ice house; large barn, livery stable, two rows of extensive shedding, all of which are of stone, large frame hay house, two stone and one frame tenant houses, stone smithshop, coach maker's shop, &c. there are three wells of good water on the premises, with pumps in them, a stream of water runs through the farm, the land is divided into convenient fields, about 10 acres of Apple Orchard, and a good proportion of Woodland, all enclosed by good fence; there is a beautiful Grove adjoining the tavern house, and the grounds are in good order. The Columbia rail road passes through the property, within 600 yards of the Mansion House, the Lancaster turnpike and Old Lancaster road passes in front of the tavern house. The situation is well known to be healthy, and is admirably situated for a large Boarding House or Seminary; there is a Post Office at the Tavern House, the mail, from Philadelphia and Lancaster passes daily up and down.
No. 2. Also adjoining the above, a handsome and well improved farm containing about 50 acres of land in a high state of cultivation, well watered, divided into small fields with good fence; has been well limed; situate partly in Radnor aforesaid, but chiefly in Tredyffrin township, Chester county. The improvements are a large stone
and Kitchen, two stories high, with piazzas front and back, a pump of good water near the door --a large stone Barn, with carriage house and wagon house under the granaries - stone spring house over a never failing spring. Also, a convenient stone Dwelling House, piazza in front, with a Kitchen and large stone Store House adjoining, all two stories high, at which extensive business is doing, being situated on the Philadelphia and Lancaster Turnpike and Old Road where the roads leading into the Great Valley and to Sugartown, intersect the same. It is considered one of the best store stands. Also, adjoining No. 1, a large TANNERY with about seven acres of land, most of which is highly improved.
The improvements are a good two story Stone Dwelling House, two stories high, two rooms on a floor, over a never failing spring of excellent water, which supplies the Tannery with over head water, a large stone Bark House sufficiently large to hold upwards of 150 cords of bark, with grinding mill in the same -- there are 31 lay away vats with handlers, bates, limes, and large water pool; a large stone Currying and Bate House, with every convenience for carrying on the business, and where a large business has always been done, being in a neighborhood where at all times, a full supply of bark may be obtained with hides and skins. There is generally about 1200 hides and skins Taken in yearly at the tavern for the yard; it is generally considered to be the best stand in that section of the country.
Also, about 40 acres of Woodland, within about a mile of the aforesaid properties, will be sold in lots to suit purchasers. It is situated in Easttown township, bounded by lands of Alexander E. Findley and others.
Also, a lot of sprout land, containing about 5 acres, situate in Easttown aforesaid, on the road leading from the turnpike by the Great Valley Baptist Church, to the Valley Forge, adjoining the lot of the Gold Mining Co'y and Thomas Lewis.
Information will be given, and the properties shown by applying to Richard Milleson, at the tavern house, Reese Rambo, or Hiram Cleaver, on No. 2 and John S. Yocum at the Tannery, or to the subscriber, No. 141 Filbert, near 13th street, Philadelphia, by whom the conditions of the sale will be made known on said day.
Sept. 11, 1838
"After the completion of the railroad ... and the successful attempt at steam transportation," Sasche observed, "the decline of the [Spread Eagle] inn was rapid, the glory of the once-noted hostelry waned year afteryear, and it soon became merely a cross road tavern with no patronage except what the laboring population of the vicinity supplied."
It was not alone. The coming of the railroad, as has been noted in both song and story, had a disastrous effect on many of the inns and tavern stands serving the traffic on the turnpike. It may well, in fact, have been one of the reasons that so many of them were offered for sale at this time: the proximity and "convenience" of the railroad that was cited as an advantage in some of these sale notices may well have been a consideration leading to the attempt to sell the property.
And thus, as Sasche also noted, the wayside inn. "once an important landmark, gradually went out of existence".Top
Burns, Franklin W.: "The Fox and Springhouse Taverns", in the Tredyffrin Easttown History Club Quarterly, October 1938 [Vol. I, No. 5]
also unpublished notes on the history of Berwyn
Chester County Archives and Land Records: Tavern license papers
Chester County Historical Society: Newspaper clipping file
Lapp, Dorothy B.: unpublished manuscript compilation of tavern license petitions, n.d., in Chester County Historical Society
Sasche, Julius F.: The Wayside Inns on the Lancaster Road Lancaster : The New Era Printing Co. 2d edition 1912
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