Its Quiet, But Many Have Passed Through
By LuAnne Feik (Special to the Daily Local News)
SADSBURYVILLE Standing on her front porch at 3358 Old Lincoln Highway Anne Babin can see the largest concentration of log houses in Chester County.
Ten such homes formed Sadsburyville, a village founded in 1729 on land William Penn granted to Scotch-Irish emigrant Hugh Cowan. Original logs are exposed on the house diagonally across the street from the Babins. In six other nearby 18th century structures, outside stucco and other sidings cover logs visible inside.
The brown house next to the Babins hides more than its logs. What one early resident thought to be the sound of vinegar dripping from a barrel turned out to be blood from a suicide victim. According to Babin, children who know the story fabricate wild tales to account for any stain found in the village.
Like Canterbury, Sadsburyville knows many a travelers tale. Inns flourished in the village, located first on two busy 18th century stagecoach roads and then near the 19th century Columbia-Philadelphia railroad line. At the eastern edge of Sadsburyville, Barbara and Gunner Zorn have restored the United States Arms Inn on Old Lincoln Highway. Built in 1794, the tavern downstairs and bedrooms upstairs welcomed stagecoaches traveling the Philadelphia to Lancaster Turnpike. For travelers going west, this inn near the 40th milestone out of Philadelphia was the last chance to change horses.
Farther down Old Lincoln Highway, Maple Grove Farm was Cowans original Penn land grant. Ebeneazer Jackson, a black man who lived woods on the Cowan property, also was a host to travelers. The remains of his house, a stop on the Underground Railroad, are still there.
Boyds Corner, at Old Lincoln Highway and Compass Road, housed the Black Horse Tavern in 1794. By the early 1800s, John Boyd was a student of George Baldwin, the famed Chester County Baldwin clockmaker, who then made his home in Sadsburyville.
Back east on Old Lincoln Highway, Harrys Bar and Sandwich Shop stands at the Old Wilmington Road intersection where the Sadsburyville Hotel once catered to travelers heading south. Proprietor John Sloan began feeding and lodging passengers who arrived daily on four scheduled stagecoaches in 1792. The Marquis de Lafayette, his son and secretary stopped at the Sadsburyville Hotel in 1824. The building has served local residents as both a polling place and post office.
Across from Harrys, John Tolands stately home was the site of Chester Countys first commercially grown mushrooms. His greenhouse also grew carnations, chrysanthemums and violets for the Philadelphia market.
Besides serving as a transportation hub, Sadsburyvilles commercial heritage includes a woolen mill and stone quarry on Buck Run Creek. Through the years, fires destroyed most of the original properties, but the mills dam and the mill owners restored home remain on Quarry Road west of Old Wilmington Road.
Continuing south on Old Wilmington Road, railroad tracks signal a 19th-century shift in the areas development. The same hunting and fishing trails the Lenni Lenape Indians used before 1700 thrived again, when farmers shipped cattle and milk to Philadelphia and Wilmington by rail from Sadsburyville's southern neighbor, Pomeroy.
Just a little farther south, at Valley and Strasburg roads, the Stottsville Inn offers lodging and dining. From the 1740s on, travelers have sought out inns and taverns at this site.
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