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Monday, April 18, 2016

The "The "The Cool Town With A History: Part II - A Tavern With A Tale To Tell" Story

The Forgotten Seasons Bed and Breakfast in Lititz, PA
It was an ordinary day.  Talking with Kathy who is the owner, along with her husband Jay, of the "Forgotten Seasons Bed and Breakfast" which is located to the north of Lititz, Pennsylvania.  They have been the owners of this historic building since 2008.  The story begins in the early 1730's when Jacob Huber (spelled by some as Hoober) settled on a tract of land in 1733 which was about seven miles to the north of the city of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  
Entrance to the Bed and Breakfast.
Once on the land he build a log cabin measuring 18' x 20' on the property.  Then sometime between 1733 and 1735 he built a building next to the log cabin measuirng 47' x 32' to be used as a Tavern.  It wasn't until 1738 that he properly secured the land from John, Richard and Thomas Penn, William Penn's heirs.  The original indenture on sheepskin still exists, but I never got a chance to see it.   That Tavern still stands today and is the bed and breakfast of Kathy and Jay.  Jacob also helped in laying out two major roads that intersected an eighth of an mile from his newly built Tavern.  The roads were actually Native American trails which were fairly well established at the time to the north of Lancaster and was a trading route from Newport, Delaware to Lancaster County.  
Part of old Newport Road can be seen in front of the Bed and Breakfast. 
Newport Road was a 63 mile long road and brought goods from overseas.  That was the main reason that Jacob Huber built his Tavern in the first place.  In 1939 Jacob was commissioned by the County of Lancaster to survey and improve Newport Road, the road that ran past his Tavern, from Mt. Hope to Spring Garden.  
The Dutch door or door that has a top
and bottom that open separately or can
be fastened together and opened at one
time.  Notice the strap hinges.
The second road at the intersection ran north from Lancaster, along Queen Street (my childhood home was on Queen Street) to Tolpehocken, north of Newport Road.  Today State Route 501N follows that same path.  It was in December of 1742 that Count Zinzendorf, a Moravian missionary, traveled from Bethlehem along some of these same roads to Jacob Huber's Tavern where he assembled the local German farmers to share with them his vision of starting a church mission.  Jacob's neighbor to the south, George Kline, eventually donated his property to the Moravian Church in 1749 which went on to become the town of Lititz, Pennsylvania.  Around 1750 Jacob started a cast iron furnace a few miles to the north at what is now the intersection of Rt. 501 and Rt. 322.  He named it after his daughter Elizabeth.  
The old stairwell in the original Tavern.
Shortly Henry William Stiegel arrived from Cologne, Germany and began working for Mr. Huber.  Before long Stiegel and Elizabeth married.  Stiegel eventually became famous for glassmaking at the nearby town of Manheim.  My visit today is to learn about the building that became Huber's Tavern in 1738.  The main door to the Forgotten Seasons is a Dutch door, meaning it has two halves to it.  It has strap hinges on both halves of the door.  The building itself has walls that appear to be mainly stone and are close to 18" thick.  The Bed and Breakfast has a reception room, library, dining room and family room on the first floor.  The root cellar, with what appears to be a dumb waiter that goes to the first floor, is original. The original kitchen was in the root cellar and the dumb waiter transferred the food from cellar to 1st floor.  
In the root cellar I found a stone that was used to clean off
your boots before entering the Tavern.  It is dated 1793.
Inside I was greeted by a beautiful staircase that leads to the guest rooms on the second floor.  In the dining room is a built-in corner cupboard that still has its original hand-poured glass.  I was able to visit the root cellar and see the remnants of the dumb waiter as well as see where much of the food was prepared for the Tavern.  
The thickness of the walls can be seen
in this photo taken of this third floor window.
The ceiling was very close to my head, but at that time in history I assume there weren't too many people over six feet tall like me.  There was an exterior door from the cellar so food could be brought in without going through the dining room.   The air in the basement was cool and I found out later it remains cool year round.  The root cellar is about 30' x 12" or the size of the dining room and kitchen located above it.  I'm not sure what year an addition to the east side of the Tavern was added, but there is no cellar under it.  Kathy took me up to the third floor to see the very wide floor boards and the thick walls.  Headroom was adequate for standing and walking around.  I could see remnants of what used to be chimneys which had been removed years ago.  
The dining room of what is not the Bed and Breakfast.
You can see in this photo how low the door frame is.
I did notice a small noose hanging from a rafter, but didn't dare ask about it.  Kathy and Jay live in the part of the house that had been added years ago.  As I wandered throughout the Tavern, turned Bed and Breakfast, I thought of what it must have been like hundreds of years ago.  The size of the doorways was not more than six feet high and I found myself ducking to pass through them.  
This side of the Bed and Breakfast faces the new Newport Road.
You can see in this photo where the eastern side of the building
was added to the original Jacob Huber Tavern.
My host today wore the traditional garb of the Menonnite faith and from what I read, most of the dozen or so owners of the building have been Mennonites.  Lancaster County is known for Amish and Mennonites, but then you have to throw in the Moravians of nearby Lititz who came when Zinzendorf set up his community on the Kline farm (another story in the future).  
This plaque is on the front of the original Tavern facing what
was originally Newport Road.  Click to read the plaque.
The exterior of the building is beautiful with stone that more than likely came from local quarries and wood trim from nearby forests.  My day was interesting to say the least and my appre- ciation for those who settled my home town grows more and more as I learn the history of the area.   As I told someone recently,  I have learned more history since I began writing this blog than my entire time in public school and college combined.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an oridnary guy. 

This door is on the rear of the building.  The old door handle can tell many stories as to those that have crossed through it over the last 281 years,
This pole with a horse's head on it was used by patrons of the Tavern to tie their horse.

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