TwHP Lessons

At a Crossroads:
The King of Prussia Inn

Present-day image of the King of Prussia Inn
(Courtesy King of Prussia Chamber of Commerce)

A

crowd of local residents, the press, and employees of the various agencies and contractors who had worked on the preparations started gathering at dawn. At about 9:00 a.m. the sound of the motors from the self-propelled jacks increased in volume and pitch, the crowd held its collective breath, and slowly, inches at a time, the venerable old building began to move. Traveling only feet an hour, the inn made its way up Route 202, passed safely over the culvert, to Gulph Road, where it made a right turn--with contractors soaping the tires so they could slide along the curbing and manually turning the jacks. From there the inn proceeded about a half mile to its new site.¹

Moving the King of Prussia Inn to a new location was just one of the many changes witnessed by the inn during its history. When the inn was first built in 1719, Pennsylvania was still a British colony. Though that building was but a small farmhouse, the inn later grew to a prosperous tavern and inn at the heart of a town of the same name. For more than two centuries, the King of Prussia adapted to its everchanging surroundings. In 1952, the State of Pennsylvania acquired the property for roadway improvements. For nearly 50 years, the inn sat idle until the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation accepted a plan by the King of Prussia Chamber of Commerce at Valley Forge for the relocation of the historic inn. Today the Chamber of Commerce occupies the building, and its story is preserved for generations to come.

¹ Richard M. Affleck, “At the Sign of the King of Prussia,” Byways to the Past, published by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, 2002.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

About This Lesson

Getting Started: Inquiry Question

Setting the Stage: Historical Context

Locating the Site: Maps
 1. King of Prussia Area, 1777

 2. King of Prussia Area, 1871 Atlas

 3. Detail Excavation Map, King of Prussia,
 1990s

Determining the Facts: Readings
 1. The King of Prussia Inn
 2. Archeology at the King of Prussia Inn
 3. A New Home

Visual Evidence: Images
 1. Artist view of The King of Prussia
 2. King of Prussia, ca. 1910
 3. Wagon shed during excavation
 4. King of Prussia on the move
 5. King of Prussia Inn finds a new home

 

Putting It All Together: Activities
 1. Community Research
 2. Interpreting Artifacts
 3. Endangered Sites

Supplementary Resources

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The lesson is based on the King of Prussia Inn, one of the thousands of properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

 

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