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Thursday, January 22, 2015

The "Historical Tidbits In Lancaster" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Made a few really neat discoveries in downtown Lancaster while walking the streets looking for some shots to post to my blog.  One of the discoveries was in the first block of the major north-south route that goes through center-city Lancaster.  

The original Grape Hotel was located
at 30 North Queen St. in Lancaster. 
On the west side of the street is located the original Grape Hotel which was owned and operated by Colonel Adam Reigart.  As it says on the historical marker attached to the wall of the hotel, it was the meeting place of numerous Revolutionary groups and committees and notable among Colonial Hostelries as a center of the Spirit of Independence in Lancaster County.  The hotel was built in 1741 by a man named John Harris.  It was eventually sold to Mr. Reigart in 1769 at Sheriff's sale.  A large ornamental sign to advertise the hotel hung from the front of the hotel and featured a large bunch of grapes.  The wrought-iron sign was made by a blacksmith in Lancaster. 

The Executive Council of Pennsylvania met at the Grape Hotel.  The Committee of Observation also met at the Grape during the war, when the famous order was issued to merchants who were suspected of selling tea contrary to the "Association of the Continental Congress" to appear before the committee.   In 1794 the place passed into the possession of the John Michaels family.  Lancaster's President of the United States, James Buchanan, was said to frequent the Grape Hotel on occasion.  They probably can lay claim to the fact that Buchanan slept there.  During the hotel's demise two young men took over the hotel and changed the arrangements of the inn, but were unsuccessful in keeping it open.  
The site where Revolutionary War stables
housed General Washington's horses.
In August of 1888 the hotel was closed by the Sheriff for the last time.  I'm not sure if the building pictured here is the original building or if it was torn down and a new building built.  The other discovery made was of a row of houses on North Duke Street.  They at one time were used as military stables during the Revolutionary War.  Lancaster was a town where munitions were kept in ready for the war as well as a prison for British and Hessian Troops.  The building shown here was were the horses were stabled for General Washington.  Pennsylvania is rich in it's history and I am learning more about it now than I ever did when I was in school.  History teachers should assign blog writing to all students as an means to gain interest in the subject.  I know it has helped excite me.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.



Historical plaque on North Queen Street.


Historical signs on North Duke Street.


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