From the King of Prussia Courier – July 6, 1994
by Dennis Daylor, Courier Editor
… The pre-revolutionary inn, located at the crossroads now known as Route 202 and Gulph Road, gave its name to King of Prussia in 1851. It served as a voting place of the community until well into the 20th century. The one-time hostelry has played a large part in the life of the community since its earliest days. It served as a place of rest and relaxation for many years before the American Revolution as well as during the Revolution.
In the first part of last century, it operated as a restaurant, closing its doors once and for all in 1952, when the new Route 202 firmly cut off all access to its hospitality.
Destruction threatened the Inn that year and it was about to fall to the bulldozers. According to the tale told to Mrs. Peters, a small band of local citizens confronted the wrecking machines and stopped them dead in their tracks. And thus, the Inn rests somewhat uncomfortably on its little island surrounded by a moat of speeding traffic.
The old Inn was noted for its good cheer long before Gen. George Washington and his army encamped at Valley Forge in 177-78. Although the earliest records at the court house in Norristown shows its date as 1718, it is believed that it was built about 1709. It was named for its owner, a native of Prussia, in honor of Frederick I, who had, a short time before, establishing himself as the King of Prussia.
To those who doubt there ever was a so-called “King”, the direct descendant of the original Frederick I, King of Prussia, is Louis Ferdinand, Prince of Prussia, visited Dr. Robert May of King of Prussia Road in 1959.
As with all inns and taverns in the colonial period, a sign was hung outside with a likeness of a King of horseback. This creaking sign was long remembered by residents of the Great Valley and many legends concerning it were handed down through the generations. It is pretty well established that the original sign is in possession of the King of Prussia Historical Society.
The Inn was remodeled and enlarged in 1769 by Daniel Thompson, a free Quaker who, because of his devotion to the American cause, fought through the eight years of the Revolutionary War.
Reliable records place “old Herman de Vriest” as proprietor of the Inn during the Revolution, and particularly during the encampment at Valley Forge. He was host to both American and British soldiers and many intrigues and plots were hatched within the walls of the old inn.
The Inn was a polling place and center of debate of current affairs, furnishing food, drink and comfort to the weary traveler for over 200 years.
UPDATE: Unfortunately, as reported above, the original Inn sign is not in the possession of the King of Prussia Historical Society. It sits today inside the original, relocated Inn on Bill Smith Boulevard, and in the hands of the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce.