King of Prussia Inn
King of Prussia Inn
King of Prussia Inn as it appeared circa 1919 prior to restoration and relocation
|Location||101 Bill Smith Blvd, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania|
|Architect||William Rees (builder)|
|NRHP Reference #||75001656|
|Added to NRHP||December 23, 1975|
The original Inn was constructed as a cottage in 1719 by the Welsh Quakers William and Janet Rees, founders of nearby Reeseville. The cottage was converted to an inn in 1769 and was important in colonial times as it was approximately a day’s travel by horse from Philadelphia. A number of settlers heading from there for Ohio would sleep at the inn for their first night on the road. In 1774 the Rees family hired James Barry (or Jimmy Berry) to run the inn, which henceforth became known as "Berry's Tavern". General George Washington first visited the tavern on Thanksgiving Day in 1777 while the Continental Army was encamped at Whitemarsh; a few weeks later Washington and the army bivouacked at nearby Valley Forge.
Parker's spy map, created by a Tory sympathizer of the Kingdom of Great Britain, listed the inn as "Berry's" in 1777, but a local petition in 1786 identified it as the "King of Prussia". It was possibly renamed to entice German (especially Prussian) soldiers to remain in and patronize the area; colonial generals such as Johann de Kalb and Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben had many Prussians as officers. At some point a wooden signboard of the inn depicted King Frederick the Great of Prussia. The inn was listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places on December 23, 1975.
The inn was forced to move with the expansion of US Highway 202. US 202 is a major north-south highway that passes through the town from southwest to northeast. Its construction as a modern expressway would have caused the destruction of the King of Prussia Inn; however, historic preservationists managed to prevail upon the state of Pennsylvania to avoid this structure by building north and southbound lanes on either side of it.
The State of Pennsylvania acquired the property the inn was located on in 1952. For more than 50 years the inn was marooned on an artificial island, with cars and trucks roaring past it on all sides. It was sealed up for years, surrounded by a high fence. The inn was successfully relocated on August 20, 2000 and opened to the public in October 2002. The King of Prussia Chamber of Commerce occupied the building following the restoration and as of 2011 still does.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13.
- Haley, Bill. '"A Home For The Inn," Berry’s Tavern in Merionethshire, and the "Other" Valley Forge'. Accessed June 23, 2006.
- Greater Valley Forge Chamber of Commerce. "King of Prussia's name". Accessed June 23, 2006.
- "At a crossroads: King of Prussia Inn", King of Prussia Inn, Teaching with Historic Places Lesson Plans, National Register of Historic Places. Retrieved 3 October 2007.
- "Determining the facts", King of Prussia Inn, Teaching with Historic Places Lesson Plans, National Register of Historic Places. Retrieved 3 October 2007.
- Historic Resseville and King of Prussia, PA
- At a Crossroads: The King of Prussia Inn, a National Park Service Teaching with Historic Places (TwHP) lesson plan