Sandy Hill Tavern (West Caln Township, Pennsylvania)

Sandy Hill Tavern

Sandy Hill Tavern in West Caln Township, Pennsylvania is the historic tavern that never was.  While there had been a series of taverns on the location prior to the 1805-06 construction of the Sandy Hill, this particular tavern was never granted a license to sell alcohol.  The relatively small 30 by 30 foot, two story brick structure looks like a perfect place for a quick drink, the rough and unsavory history of the property meant that they never could.

The Sandy Hill Tavern is nonetheless considered a historic inn and tavern in the region and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.  Due partially to the Georgian/Federal design and the history of the property, the Sandy Hill was an easy choice for a unique entry to our archives.

The earliest recorded request for a tavern license at the site of the Sandy Hill Tavern was back in 1758 when it was known as the General Wolf.  It took twenty years until the tavern was allowed to legally serve alcohol and in 1778 the first legal drink was sold at the site.  Over the following twenty years the tavern changed ownership several times and went by a variety of names, changing from the General Wolf, to the Red Horse, and finally landing on the Sandy Hill Tavern (which it was often called anyway).

In the early 1700’s, what was once a Native American trail known as Old Peter’s Road (now known as Route 340) ran through the middle of the small township of West Caln. It was this road that carried traffic between the much larger cities of Lancaster and Philadelphia and made inns and taverns popular in West Caln.  Several of the original structures along this road still exist and it is believed that one of the taverns known as The Waggon was an important stop on the Underground Railroad.

Sandy Hill Tavern Facts

  • Sandy Hill Tavern was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.
  • West Caln was officially recognized as a Township in 1744.
  • One of the oldest taverns on West Caln was constructed in 1736, it was first known as the Farmers’ and Mechanic’s Inn and was a likely stop on the Underground Railroad.
  • The Sandy Hill Tavern was previously known as the Red Horse Tavern and the General Wolf.
  • The property of the Sandy Hill Tavern covers more than 3 acres (1.2 hectares).