Jun 232017

Presentation Date – Monday, May 21, 2018

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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.

Join us on Monday, May 21, 2018 as we welcome local historian, teacher, and acclaimed author, Tom McGurie back our Round Table to talk about this heavily traveled road and the inns that were popular at the time.  Our meeting place is now Scoogi’s Italian Restaurant at 738 Bethlehem Pike in Flourtown.  Feel free to arrive early and eat in the back room where our meetings are held.  A short business meeting will start around 7:15pm. The presentation will start at 7:30pm. We encourage you to join our membership for the very small and reasonable tax deductible amount of $25.

In the aftermath, the Lancaster Road was nearly impassable: ruts, potholes, water plashes and washouts were common. In the 1780s, 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 1792-1796.

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 1790s before Howard Johnson’s, Sbarro, or Starbucks.


About the Speaker

Thomas J. McGuire teaches history at Malvern Preparatory School in Malvern, PA. His work on the Battle of Paoli is considered the most complete documentation of the Revolutionary War battle, and was instrumental in preserving the battlefield as a historic site. In that book, as well as his other work, McGuire uses a wealth of primary material to record history from the American Revolutionary War, with a particular focus on Southeast Pennsylvania and Philadelphia.   Tom’s books include “Brandywine Battlefield Park: Pennsylvania Trail of History Guide”, “Battle of Paoli”, “Stop the Revolution: America in the Summer of Independence and the Conference for Peace”, “The Surprise of Germantown: Or, the Battle of Cliveden, October 4th, 1777”, “The Philadelphia Campaign:  Volume One: Brandywine and the Fall of Philadelphia”, and The Philadelphia Campaign: Volume Two: Germantown and the Roads to Valley Forge”


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