King of Prussia Inn
King of Prussia Inn
King of Prussia Inn in February 2017
|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 Reesville. 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.
A map created by William Parker, 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 soldiers fighting in the American Revolution (including Prussians) to remain in this 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.
Reference in the Diary of Johann Conrad Döhla
The following passage, dating from 1778, from the diary of Johann Conrad Döhla, a soldier from Ansbach-Bayreuth, one of the German auxiliaries (known as Hessians), who fought in the American Revolution, may refer to the King of Prussia Inn:
"I must also comment that the King of Prussia has a house in Philadelphia and therefore is a citizen and enjoys the rights of citizenship. This house is built of wood and is supposed to have been put together and built in East Friesland, brought from there to England and on a ship to Philadelphia, where it was put up in one night. It is called in their language a "Tavern," in German an inn or pub ("Gast- oder Wirtshaus"), which bears a signboard showing the King of Prussia."
The inn was forced to move with the expansion of U.S. Route 202. U.S. 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 Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to avoid this structure by building north and southbound lanes on either side of it.
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania acquired the property on which the inn was located 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 (now the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce) has occupied the building since the restoration.
- National Park Service (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
- Haley, Bill (April 1997). ""A Home For The Inn," Berry's Tavern in Merionethshire, and the "Other" Valley Forge". Route 422 Business Advisor. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007.
- "Map 1: King of Prussia Area, 1777". At a Crossroads: The King of Prussia Inn. Teaching with Historic Places Lesson Plans. National Park Service. Retrieved May 7, 2018.
- Paschall, Albert. "What's in a name?". Greater Valley Forge Chamber of Commerce. Archived from the original on February 7, 2006.
- Johann Conrad Döhla, Tagebuch eines Bayreuther Soldaten (Bayreuth, 1913), 61-62.
- "15 Year Anniversary of King of Prussia Inn's Move". King of Prussia Historical Society. 19 August 2015. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
- "At a Crossroads: King of Prussia Inn". Teaching with Historic Places Lesson Plans. National Park Service. Retrieved October 3, 2007.
- "Determining the Facts". At a Crossroads: The King of Prussia Inn. Teaching with Historic Places Lesson Plans. National Park Service. Retrieved October 3, 2007.
- "Contact Montgomery County Chamber". Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
- Media related to King of Prussia Inn at Wikimedia Commons