|The “new’’ King George II Inn in Bristol, Pa., completed in 1765, is one of the oldest continuously operating inns in the United States. (Matt Rourke/ Associated Press)|
In Pa., inn’s historic streak might end
BRISTOL, Pa. — Local lore has it that Continental Army soldiers shot down the sign on the King George II Inn amid the Revolutionary War, prompting its owners to quickly change the name to the Fountain House.
The inn survived the War of Independence but the beleaguered US economy has done what time and antimonarch fervor could not: threatened its status as one of the oldest continuously operating inns in the country. Opened in 1681 as the Ferry House by Samuel Clift, who founded the town, the 16-unit inn is up for sale with an asking price of nearly $1.4 million.
“If they were to close and never open, we’d be losing a great spot of history there,’’ said Bristol historian Harold Mitchener. The inn, according to historians, provided a warm supper and comfortable bed for several icons of American history, including George Washington and John Adams.
Owners John and Geri Caparrelli, who bought the property in 2004, said late last month that the restaurant was closing and the 329-year-old inn was on the block, victims of a business downturn during the past three years. “For almost two years, we have been trying to refinance the Inn,’’ the Caparrellis said in a statement. “We have approached several local banks as well as financial institutions outside the area with no success.’’
The inn, which has had about two dozen owners and operators, opened in a different building on the same property and moved to the current structure when it was completed in 1765.
About 20 people live in the 22,000-square-foot inn, even though the restaurant has closed.