Historic Parker Ford Tavern

Parker Ford Tavern c.1766

Historical Significance   

The Parker Ford Tavern is located in the village known as Parker's Ford, a National Historic District. The Parker Ford District was deemed historically significant in the areas of commerce, transportation and military history between the years 1700 - 1899.  General Washington's Continental troops crossed the SchuylkillRiver adjacent to the village, in September of 1777 after the Battle of Brandywine.

The Tavern was built in c.1766 by Edward Parker.  His son built the home which has been restored and that stands today across from the Tavern.  The village was located along what was once known as the "
Great Road" from Philadelphia to Reading.  Like other taverns that dotted the landscape, it provided an important respite for weary travelers, along with serving as a center of commerce and entertainment for the community.  The Tavern remained in use to serve travelers that made their way on the newly opened Schuylkill River Canal, a system of man-made waterways that connected Philadelphia with the coal regions of the northern counties.  Throughout most of the nineteenth century, the Parker's Ford village remained an active center of transportation and commerce.

Architectural Significance

The Tavern itself is a remarkably intact building.  It is constructed of rough-cut blocks of native red sandstone.  A one and one half-story kitchen is extant with a large, walk-in fireplace with bake shelf and beehive oven.  There is a unique two-level cold cellar in the courtyard adjacent to the kitchen.  The cellar drops seven feet to the first storage room and then another eight feet to the bottom and is completely lined in stone.

The second story of the Tavern is divided into seven rooms with a center cubicle for baggage storage.  An unusual feature of this floor is the folding partitions that are constructed of random width boards.  These partitions could easily be moved in order to change the configuration of the space from three front rooms into one meeting room.

The basement of the building is constructed with an unusual raftering support system where large logs are cut into wedge shapes and laid out three inches apart.  The space created by the wedge is filled with rocks upon which floorboards are laid.  Half the basement floor is laid in brick and there is a stone shelf rising above the floor, which appears to have been covered in water at one time, fed by a stone flume.

The Vision for the Tavern

The East Vincent Board of Supervisors was pleased to purchase the Parker Ford Tavern in 2003.  In addition to Township funds, the purchase and master plan for the Tavern was made possible by The Stewart Huston Foundation,  The Chester County Visitor and Tourism Bureau, and the Schuylkill River Heritage Corridor Grant Program.  The Township will be undertaking a Master Plan for the Tavern.  Once completed, "Friends of the Tavern" will be organized to oversee the restoration process.

East Vincent Township has a vision for the Parker Ford Tavern --- to see the buildings and grounds restored as closely as possible to its original eighteenth century appearance.  The tavern could serve as a museum open to the public and dedicated to the history of Parker Ford.  The themes we want to pursue are historic modes of transportation, the growth of commerce and industry in Chester County and the Revolutionary War.  As part of the Schuylkill River Valley Heritage Corridor, we will be attracting tourists, school children, scouts, and area citizens to come and step back in time.

The Township believes that with all the growth happening today, saving this historic treasure for future generations to enjoy is a committment for all ages.

Funding from the Schuylkill River Greenways Association "Heritage Special Purpose Study Grant Program" will support a Master Plan for the Tavern.  A Tavern Steering Committee has been formed to oversee the master plan process in cooperation with the Board of Supervisors and the Historical Commission.