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Douglassville in Berks County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

White Horse Inn

c. 1763

 

— Preserved by The Historic Preservation Trust of Berks County —

 
White Horse Inn Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, November 20, 2020
1. White Horse Inn Marker
Inscription.  
A Wayside Inn
The first innkeepers on the White Horse tract were Swedish settler Marcus Huling and his wife, Margareta, a daughter of Mouns and Ingeborg Jones, the area's earliest European settlers. The Hulings' inn was established in the 1720s, probably in their house near the river bank. By 1750, and well into the next century, the "White Horse" was a prominent public house in southeastern Berks County, appearing on the Nicholas Scull Pennsylvania maps of 1759 and 1775, and on the infamous British "spy" map of southeastern Pennsylvania.

George Douglass I purchased the White Horse Inn site in 1762. The earliest section of the existing inn (the three bays on the right) was completed by 1763. The addition (the three bays on left) was probably constructed between 1798 and 1805. While operating the nearby "Amity" country store, George Douglass I and his son, George Douglass II, leased the inn to a succession of innkeepers through the early decades of the 19th century. The last reference to the White Horse as a "Tavern stand" appeared in George Douglass II's 1832 Will.

As a wayside inn, the White Horse accommodated
White Horse Inn Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, November 20, 2020
2. White Horse Inn Marker
teamsters, livestock drovers, stage drivers, and other travelers on the King's Road connecting Philadelphia to Reading and Oley. As a country "Tavern-stand," it served beer, ale, wine, spirits, and meals to workmen, farmers, and others from the growing crossroads community. Prices were fixed in 1700 by Provincial Law. A meal of pork or beef, "with small beer," was seven pence. Hay or grass for a horse was six pence per night, including lodging for the "Horseman."

The White Horse Inn played an important historical role in the Amity region as a civic, social, economic, and cultural gathering place. During the Revolutionary War it was a primary assembly site for militia musters. Samuel Jones, a grandson of Mouns Jones, mustered here with a local battalion in August, 1776 before marching to Pennsylvania. In addition to providing an arena for political discourse, the Inn was a polling place, a venue for auctions of real and personal property, and the meeting place for the Amity Township Society for the Prevention of Horse Thievery. The inn became the hub of America's original form of social networking: tavern-table conversation and distribution of the news of the day through German- and English-language newspapers. The tavern keeper also dispatched and received letters and served as a point of contact for people who posted "broadside" notices and advertisements in regional
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newspapers.

Unlike most "country" taverns at the time, the White Horse presented an elegant façade constructed of coursed and fully dressed cut stone, not unlike Douglass' nearby Georgian home. The interior plan was typical for smaller inns, with just two first-floor rooms, without hallways, in the original section and one "cage bar" room in the later Federal-era wing. The proprietor's quarters and dormitory rooms for guests were on the second floor.

By the early 20th century the structure was converted to apartments. The Historic Preservation Trust acquired in 1971 and has restored its original floor plan. The building now houses the Trust's administrative offices and archiving center, and stands as a welcoming venue for all who are interested in the preservation of early American landmarks.
 
Erected by Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources; Pennsylvania Parks & Forests Foundation.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: ArchitectureColonial EraIndustry & Commerce.
 
Location. 40° 15.208′ N, 75° 43.524′ W. Marker is in Douglassville, Pennsylvania, in Berks County. Marker is at the intersection of Old Philadelphia Pike and Britton Street on Old Philadelphia
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Pike. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 31 Old Philadelphia Pike, Douglassville PA 19518, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Welcome to Morlatton Village (a few steps from this marker); George Douglass Home (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Morlatton Vilage (about 300 feet away); Morlatton Village Trailhead (about 300 feet away); Old Swedes House (about 400 feet away); Feuding Railroads (about 700 feet away); Michael Fulp House (about 800 feet away); Mouns Jones House (about 800 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Douglassville.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on November 21, 2020. It was originally submitted on November 21, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 24 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on November 21, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.
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Nov. 24, 2020