King of Prussia Inn
The King of Prussia Inn (101 Bill Smith Boulevard) was entered onto the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. Text, below, was adapted from a copy of the original nomination document.
The King of Prussia Inn was built c. 1719 by the Welsh family of William Rees. The Inn was remodeled in 1750 and named for Frederick the Great of Prussia. In 1769 the Inn I --was again remodeled and enlarged by Daniel Thompson. The present appearance of the building is largely that of its 1769 enlargement.
This 18th century Inn is a 2-1/2-story, stuccoed fieldstone building. The original section of the Inn probably consisted of only the 3 western bays. The present building is 48' by 33' in dimension with a one story concrete block kitchen wing attached to the east gable wall. The pitched gable roof has modern asphalt shingles laid over the old roof of wood shingles. The cornice and eaves are of very simple detail. Masonry chimneys are located at each of the gable ends.
A wide two story porch of later construction runs across the north facade. The two paneled doors located in the 2nd and 4th bays of the main facade are old but not original. The door in the central bay of the 2nd floor is of similar construction. Fenestration consists of two windows on each floor of the gable ends. Four windows are located on each floor of the north and south facade. The window openings are of post and lintel construction. Sash is not original.
The interior of the present Inn is basically a center hall plan with two rooms located on each side of a wide hall. The first floor in the original section has one large room divided by folding doors. This room has back to back diagonal fireplaces. A large walk-in fireplace is located in the main room of the eastern section. The interior woodwork has been greatly altered and only sections of the 18th century wainscoting, chairrail and paneling remain.
The Inn is now located in the medial strip of U. S. Route 202 and is in poor condition.*
SignificanceBuilt in the early 1700s at the intersection of Swedesford and Gulph Roads, the King of Prussia Inn was a public house and community center for over 200 years. Indeed the Inn gave its name to the community. The original Inn is largely submerged by the later additions and alterations. It has, however, undergone no serious changes since the 18th century and is an excellent example of the early inns that dotted the major roads of the area. Located in the paths of the various Revolutionary Armies, the Inn played host to many important military figures. The records of the proprietor during the war list both British and American officers. Washington and some of his friends held Masonic meetings in one of the 2nd floor rooms, and it was here at the request of Washington that Lafayette joined the Masons. The Inn is presently located in the medial strip of U.S. Route 202. It has been boarded up for a number of years and is in poor condition. The King of Prussia Historical Society is currently planning a stabilization and restoration program.*
*Note: In 2002 and 2003 the Inn was moved, restored, and opened as the headquarters of the Greater Valley Forge Chamber of Commerce.
School District: Upper Merion