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Monday, October 10, 2016

The "A Man Named Bricker, His Town And His House" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Reading yet one more story about the history of Lancaster County and it's surrounding towns and boroughs.  Now, I must admit, it pales in comparison to Europe or other parts of the world and it's history, but I wasn't born in Europe or other ancient cities, so all I have is US history and I find it rather interesting.  My story today will take a look at an early 1700 settler named Peter Bricker, the town of Brickerville named after him and his home which is now known as the Brickerville House Family Restaurant.  
Tombstone of Peter Bricker
I pass the place many times going to or coming home from by brother's house in Ephrata.   Well, Peter, a Mennonite, was born in Germany in 1700 and in 1732 boarded the ship "Pink Plaisance" in Rotterdam along with his wife and two young daughters and traveled to Philadelphia.  The next year he received a grant of 290 acres of land in Cocalico Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  Eight years later he was granted an additional tract of land which brought his holdings to over 800 acres.  
The original John Bricker Stone Inn
The second acquisition became known as "The Bricker Tract."  I never found out who granted him the land, but many grants in this area of Pennsyl- vania were from William Penn and his ancestors.  Anyway, his wife died, he remarried and built a large sandstone, two and a half story house on his tract of land.  The house was known as "the spotted house" since it has different colors of sandstone used in it.  A date stone lists the structure as being built in A.D. 1759 and a marker located in the town of Brickerville says that the area was named after Peter Bricker in 1741.  
A later photo of the property
He died in 1760 and was buried on his original plot of land.  A very modest sandstone headstone marks his place of burial.  As for the Brickerville House Family Restaurant, it was built in 1797 on a tract of land warranted to Valentine Stover and which made its way into the John Bricker family.  John built a stone inn on the tract which was located at the intersection of today's Routes 322 and 501 where teamsters, heading from Philadelphia to Harrisburg on what then was known as Horseshoe Pike, would stop to feed their horses and remain overnight.  
Interior of the inn after it was also made into a tavern
The place was also used for township meetings, voting and public gatherings.  Tax records from the period list John Bricker as the innkeeper until 1844 when he died.  The property was then listed the following year as part of the John Bricker estate.  The tavern was approximately eight miles from Peter Bricker's sandstone house.  
Photo I took today showing the same building which is
now known as the Brickerville House Family Restaurant
Records also show that the two men weren't related.  John's wife, Barbara took over the inn and obtained a license to add a tavern.  Eventually the little town at the intersection gained a distillery, cigar factory, carperter's shop, mason's shop, blacksmith, physician,  shoemaker and post office to go along with the many nearby farmers.  Eventually the Bricker's son, Evan took over the inn/hotel.  I have found since then a variety of owners of the 55 by 35 foot house with three rooms and kitchen on the first floor, six rooms on the second floor with a large stone barn, 54 by 40 feet, a stone shed over 100 feet long, a stone wash house and 38 acres of land.  Today, Mihalis and Asimima Agadis own the property and serve breakfast, lunch and dinner at the Brickerville House Family Restaurant.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.       

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