History on Tap - No E-Z Pass: The Lancaster Road and the Lancaster Turnpike, 1775-1800

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Event Date: 
Tuesday, December 6, 2016 -
6:30pm to 8:30pm
Lancaster Turnpike Milestone Marker, L. Carstairs Pierce Collection, CCHS
History On Tap
Tuesday, December 6, 2016 at 6:30pm
Ship Inn


No E-Z Pass: The Lancaster Road and the Lancaster Turnpike, 1775-1800

by Thomas J. McGuire, Historian, Author and Teacher

The Old Lancaster Road, or Conestoga Road, or King's Highway, was the main artery between America's largest city, Philadelphia, and America's largest inland town, Lancaster. The road was always BUSY, and when war came to Chester County in 1777-78, the local roads were heavily used by both armies. In the aftermath, the Lancaster Road was nearly impassable: ruts, potholes, water plashes and washouts were common. In the 1780's, the state of Pennsylvania was broke and the new national government had no money. Commerce was in crisis. This presentation takes a look at the road during and after the war, and the creation of the first long, Macadamized turnpike in the United States: the Lancaster Turnpike, constructed by a PRIVATE company in 1792-96. See how they straightened out the road, created new taverns (including the Ship Inn), and how the old taverns were affected. The presentation will include tidbits about what culinary choices and beverages you could expect to be served in the taverns of the 1790's before Howard Johnson's, Sbarro, or Starbucks.

History on Tap brings history to you in the casual atmosphere of your favorite local bar or restaurant. The Ship Inn was built to serve travelers on the Lancaster Turnpike in 1796, and it continues to welcome travelers and locals two-hundred years later. A taste of history is an excellent pairing with this month's History on Tap topic.  The program is free for the community to enjoy! Generously sponsored by BB&T and WCHE 1520AM. The portable sound system is sponsored by Colleen and Basel Frens.