22 January 2015

Those Places Thursday: Witmer Tavern

Last week we virtually visited the Eagle Tavern in Lampeter. That tavern is on the Watch List again put out annually by the Historic Preservation Trust (HPT) of Lancaster County. A post on Facebook reminded me of another tavern of historical note that is in horrible condition - Witmer Tavern. 

The note read: “Another one in need of big help is Witmer tavern on the Old Philadelphia Pike near route 30. The porch roof is falling down and it looks like lights are on inside but I never see any sign of life. This beautiful historic property was built in 1725 and was a wagon stop on the old Kings Highway from Philly to Lancaster. I don't know why someone doesn't see the importance of this old building and maintain it the way it should be.” 

Henry Witmer’s Tavern was originally built for Henry Witmer, a Mennonite landowner and tavern keeper. The date stone reads 1773 but parts of the house may date back to 1722, according to Our Present Past by HPT. In 1722 (some sources say 1725), which was prior to Lancaster County being formed, the land was patented to Henry’s grandfather, Benjamin Witmer.  

The Witmer family was well known in the area. They were also prominent in several early projects, like the Philadelphia-Lancaster Turnpike (1792). 

It is located at 2014 Old Philadelphia Pike (Route 340) in East Lampeter Township, Lancaster County. The Tavern is listed on the National Register of Historical Places. It is marked by a Pennsylvania Historical Marker, which was dedicated on 26 September 1988. 

The 1725 Historic Witmer’s Tavern Inn was the last operating inn that sprouted up along Old Philadelphia Pike. It was last renovated in 1992. All the rooms, according to Travel Weekly, have air conditioning and a working fireplace as well as daily maid service. However, a drive past this place reveals no signage indicating anything but a personal residence.

Sources:
Historic Preservation Trust, Our Present Past, Lancaster, 1985. 



 

Those Places Thursday is a genealogical prompt of GeneaBloggers. 
Photos © by Anna Eckman
 
© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2015
Locations listed are located in Pennsylvania (USA), unless otherwise noted in post.