Hill's Tavern

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Hill's Tavern
Hills Tavern.jpg
Hill's Tavern is located in Pennsylvania
Hill's Tavern
Hill's Tavern is located in the US
Hill's Tavern
Location U.S. 40, Scenery Hill, Pennsylvania
Coordinates 40°5′8″N 80°4′11″W / 40.08556°N 80.06972°W / 40.08556; -80.06972Coordinates: 40°5′8″N 80°4′11″W / 40.08556°N 80.06972°W / 40.08556; -80.06972
Area 1 acre (0.40 ha)
Built 1794
Architectural style Greek Revival, Italianate, Georgian
Part of Scenery Hill Historic District (#96001198[2])
NRHP Reference # 74001811[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP November 19, 1974
Designated CP October 24, 1996
Designated PHMC June 1952[3]
Logo for the Century Inn, the modern incarnation of Hill's Tavern.

Hill's Tavern is a historic building in Scenery Hill, Pennsylvania. It was heavily damaged by a fire that started shortly before midnight on August 17, 2015.[4] For a period in the early 1900s, the inn was known as Central Hotel.[5] Now called the Century Inn, it had been the oldest tavern in continuous use on the National Road,[5][6] until the fire brought an end to its 221 years of continuous operation.[7] The overnight facilities accommodated 23 overnight guests and the dining room could seat up to 140 guests.[6] The outdoor gazebo offered additional seating during the warmer months.[6]


The tavern is located in an unincorporated community now called Scenery Hill, in the township of North Bethlehem. North Bethlehem was split from West Bethlehem in 1921, which had been split into East and West Bethlehem in 1790. The town was originally in an area called Springtown, surveyed in 1785 for Isaac Bush, who sold the land to George Hill in 1796. That land was conveyed to Hill's son Stephen in 1800. Stephen Hill and Thomas McGiffin, who had acquired an interest in the land, announced that lots would be sold for a new town called Hillsborough, "on the National road, adjoining Hill's Stone tavern" in an advertisement in the July 26th 1819 Washington Reporter.[8]

A public house was in existence as early as 1794 at the future Hillsborough site.[8][9] The first proprietor was Stephen Hill, son of George Hill. Later proprietors include Thomas Hill, a relative of Stephen Hill but not a son; then Samuel Youman, John Hampson, John Gibson, William Dawson and Oliver Lacock.[9] They were followed by John Lacock, Mrs. P. M. Tombaugh and Jacob Gherlin through 1910.[10] The Direct Tax of 1798 records for West Bethlehem, listing all dwelling places, shows one 24 by 22 foot log dwelling with a 20 by 18 log kitchen outbuilding for Stephen Hill. There is no stone structure listed for the property, and only one, unrelated, stone dwelling in the township.


The two and a half-story stone tavern was built with dressed stone in the Post Colonial vernacular with Georgian influences.[5] Later modifications added Greek Revival and Italianate components.[5] The full five-bay covered porch uses rounded columns.[5] There is a long stone rear wing that houses the original kitchen, completed with a large craned cooking fireplace.[5] Prior to the fire, the building was well preserved and had been in continuous operation as a tavern since it was built.[11]

In 1952, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission installed a historical marker noting the historic importance of the tavern.[3] It is designated as a historic public landmark by the Washington County History & Landmarks Foundation.[5] The tavern was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974 and is also part of the Scenery Hill Historic District[2]


An accidental fire on August 17, 2015, started in a wood frame addition to the Inn. The interior was destroyed, along with antiques, and artwork. A Whiskey Rebellion flag, thought to be the only one in existence, was saved.[4][7]

After the August 2015 fire
December 2015


  1. ^ National Park Service (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ a b Adam Baacke (June 7, 1996). "National Register of Historic Places Registration Form: Scenery Hill Historic District" (PDF). National Park Service. Retrieved 2015-02-05.  photos 1 2 3
  3. ^ a b "Hill's Tavern - PHMC Historical Markers". Historical Marker Database. Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission. Retrieved December 7, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Cato, Jason (August 18, 2015). "Historic Century Inn burns in Washington County; historic flag saved". Trib Total Media, Inc. Retrieved 19 August 2015. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g "Hill's Tavern". Landmark Registry - Public Landmark. Washington County History & Landmarks Foundation. 2008. Retrieved 2013-12-07. 
  6. ^ a b c "Century Inn". Retrieved December 9, 2013. 
  7. ^ a b Templeton, David (August 18, 2015). "Fire destroys historic Century Inn in Washington County". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. PG Publishing Co., Inc. Retrieved August 19, 2015. 
  8. ^ a b Crumrine, Boyd (1882). History of Washington County, Pennsylvania: with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men. Philadelphia: L. H. Everts & CO. 
  9. ^ a b Searight, Thomas B. (1894). The Old Pike - A History of the National Road, With Incidents, Accidents, and Anecdotes Thereon. Uniontown, Pa: Thomas B. Searight. Retrieved 7 December 2015. 
  10. ^ McFarland, Joseph Fulton (1910). 20th century history of the city of Washington and Washington County, Pennsylvania and representative citizens. Chicago: Richmond-Arnold Pub. Co. 
  11. ^ "National Historic Landmarks & National Register of Historic Places in Pennsylvania" (Searchable database). CRGIS: Cultural Resources Geographic Information System.  Note: This includes James D. Van Trump (Summer 1972). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory - Nomination Form: Century Inn" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-11-10.  Accompanying photo

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