Residence Inn Philadelphia Valley Forge

600 Swedesford Rd, Berwyn, PA 19312
Residence Inn Philadelphia Valley Forge
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March 13, 1759. Dr Bernhard Van Leer, of Marple, purchased the Blue Ball property from Conrad Young, who had returned from Philadelphia. The two plantations connected with the tavern contained 999 acres.

The following year 1769, Dr Van Leer leased the property to Benjamin Weatherby, who in August of that year petitions for a license when "a public house of entertainment has been found necessary in Tredyffrin for over twenty years on the road leading from Philadelphia to Lancaster"

As early as 1763 an application was made to the governor for the regulation of taverns, in which it sets forth: "That one should be in such a defined distance, or in proportion to so many inhabitants, that the bar rooms should be closed upon the Sabbath day, as it wou'd tend to preveny youth from committing excesses to their own ruin, the injury of their masters and the affliction of their parents and friends."

transcribed from "OLD ROADSIDE INNS: ON THE LANCASTER ROAD SIDE, Ye Blue Ball" Village Record, West Chester PA, Feb 26, 1887. from the Tredyffrin Public Library

In 1788 Christopher Marshall wrote: "Reached Capt Reese's tavern at the Blue Ball by dusk. Here we took up our residence for the night. We drank coffee for supper and slept in our great coats, stockings, etc...for fear of fleas and bugs" The daily menu at the Blue Ball consisted of salt pork and turnip tops, along with a heavy sour bread that was allowed to rise using a leaven of boiled hops.

In 1786, Dr Van Leer died, leaving his tavern and land in the stony valley of Tredyffrin to his daughter Mary, and her husband, Moses Moore.With the completion of the new stone turnpike in 1794, the old Lancaster Road became deserted and the Ball was severed from its patrons. Because of this, the owner of the inn decided to erect a new tavern in the same name directly on the turnpike.

In the early 1800's Priscilla Moore took over the inn from her mother Mary Moore. Strange stories began to circulate about the tavern and its new owner. According to these tales, peddlers and tinkers, weighed down with profits from selling their wares, would frequently stop for a night at the inn, none suspecting it would be their last.

Muffled cries were heard in the hours before daylight, followed by soft thuds and a low, consistent noise in the kitchen below, like a shovel scraping against dry, parched earth. By dawn's first light, Prissy, wearing her starched white bonnet, was in the kitchen serving steaming mugs of black coffee and freshly baked sugar doughnuts.

Priscilla Moore was married several times. Each of her husbands, Edward Robinson, John Cahill, and John Fisher, vanished mysteriously. Prissy died in 1860 at the age of one hundred. She is buried at the Great Valley Presbyterian Church in Paoli.

In 1894, the house was sold and became a private residence. The owners believed the house was haunted. Eerie cries heard throughout the house at night scared off the help and word spread quickly that the Blue Ball Inn was not a desirable place to work. Shortly after moving in, the new owners began renovating the old tavern. Six skeletons were found in the cellar bneath the kitchen and one was unearthed in the orchard. An article in the Philadelphia Inquirer stated that the skeletons were intact, "although some showed broken bones or cleft skulls". The paper also reported that a broad-bladed Revolutionary sword had also been found, half hidden under one of the victims.

from "Inns, Tales, and Taverns of Chester County" by Meg Daly Twadell, Country Publications, Inc. 1984


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Residence Inn Philadelphia Valley Forge

600 Swedesford Rd, Berwyn

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 Residence Inn Philadelphia Valley Forge

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Address: 600 Swedesford Rd, Berwyn, PA 19312