Black Horse Inn Timeline (1741-present)
The Black Horse Inn was one of eight inns and taverns that lined Bethlehem Pike in Erdenheim and Flourtown. The Black Horse was constructed in at least five building campaigns, the earliest of which is believed to date to the 18th century. The current footprint was intact by the turn of the twentieth century.
Penn Family sells the land on which the Black Horse stands to Reynor Tyson, Springfield's first land speculator.
Between 1741 and 1744 the property changes hands several times.
Abraham Wackerly purchases the property in 1744 adding another tract in 1750 and at some point constructing a building on the site. Abraham Wackerly sells the land and building to his son, Ulrich Wackerly in 1775.
At some point between 1775 and 1798 the property is transferred to John Heiligh. The 1798 Direct Tax records indicate that the property contained a 2-story 18' x 16' stone dwelling, a 1-story 15' x 15' stone kitchen and several outbuildings.
At some point between 1798 and 1805 the property is transferred to Wendle Weant who operated a tavern on the site known as Sampson & The Lion.
Weant sells the property to Philip Sellers who assumes the position of tavernkeeper. Sellers sells the property to Michael Baum, Jr. who, several years later, sells it to his father, Michael Baum, Sr. For a time, the senior Baum also owned the Eagle, located across the Pike just north of the Black Horse. The property changes hands two more times before it is purchased in 1832 by Jacob Meninger. Meninger is believed to have constructed a large addition to the inn.
Meninger's estate sells the property to Samuel Roeder. By this time, the Inn is known as the Black Horse Hotel. During Roeder's ownership, the Black Horse becomes a polling place. Roeder sells the property to Jacob Slifer in 1856.
After 1856, the property changes hands five times until it is purchased by Edward McCloskey in 1880.
Many of the changes and "modernizations" within the building likely occur during Edward McCloskey's ownership. It was during this period that the township Board of Commissioners is formed and the Black Horse serves as their meeting place until 1905. McCloskey runs the Inn for more than 25 years before it is passed to his son, Robert, in 1906.
Robert McCloskey runs the Inn for many years passing it to his children in 1952. It is believed that some of the more recent upgrades, such as the construction of the bathrooms, are undertaken during this period. The McCloskey family continues to own the property until 1997.
In 1997, the property is sold to Mark & Elaine Mendelson and is shortly thereafter transferred to the Mendelson Family Trust. During the Mendelson period of ownership, the building is under threat of demolition. In response, the Springfield Township Historical Society forms an ad hoc group to identify solutions to save the inn. In 2001, the Friends of Historic Bethlehem Pike is formed to galvanize residents in support of the restoration of the inn.
Moreland Development acquires the property.
The building and adjacent pocket park are sold to Springfield Township.
The Friends of Historic Bethlehem Pike and the Springfield Township Board of Commissioners sign an agreement to collaborate on the restoration of the inn. The township-appointed Black Horse Inn Advisory Committee is formed to oversee the restoration with the assistance of the Friends of Historic Bethlehem Pike and the Springfield Township Historical Society.
Since 2005, the restoration of the inn continues as funds become available through state and federal grants and private donations. Momentum continues to build with the enthusiasm and commitment of township Commissioners, Staff, and scores of residents who have contributed their time, energy and expertise.