Waggon Inn- Blue Bell, PA (Center Square)

Updated: May 22, 2020

The Waggon Inn is located in the busy intersection of Skippack Pike and Dekalb Pike, and across from today's busy shopping centers: Center Square Shopping Center and recently built Centre Square Commons. I was always fascinated with that building every time I drive by. It's the architecture itself that stood out to me. And when looking through an old picture, it looked almost similar, even with alterations. The place reminds me of the Old West.


"At the intersection of two important colonial roads, Skippack and Dekalb Pikes, is the village of Centre Square, located in Whitpain Township. The post office was established here in 1821; however, many buildings in the town were built much earlier. An early structure said to date to 1758 is the Centre Square Hotel, formerly called the Waggon Inn. Thomas Fitzwater, who is associated with Fitzwatertown in neighboring Upper Dublin Township, first owned the hotel." - Postcard History Series: Eastern Montgomery County Revisted


The first owner, as stated above, was Thomas Fitzwater. He was the son of a prominent Quaker preacher (Thomas, Sr.). He joined his father and the rest of the family to emigrate to America. He boarded on the "Welcome" ship with William Penn.


In 1705, Thomas, Jr. established grist mills, and was operating limekilns in Upper Dublin. He then was given the opportunity for development in Whitpain, and the Waggon Inn was established in 1758. It didn't last long in 1761 when Thomas was anxious to return to his business back in Upper Dublin.


Thomas sold the Waggon Inn to Laurance Reemy/Rennach. In 1776, Laurance was financially embarrassed. Judah Foulke, High Sheriff of Philadelphia, sold the Waggon Inn to John Porter, and became the landlord during the Revolutionary War. At that time, George Washington ordered his men at stand guard at the inn with drawn swords while his army passed on their way to the Battle of Germantown.


In 1779, John sold the inn to Benjamin Penrose, but that lasted until 1783. For 35 years, the inn was neglected, and in bad condition. The inn was involved in a series of "legal hitches" for landlords. It was until 1804 when Thomas Humphrey purchased the property. He tore it down due to its bad condition during the Revolutionary War, and rebuilt it. The Humphreys dedicated the inn with a new name: "The Waggon." The rest is history.


Early in 2019, Reed's Country Store (current building) went out of business. The store has been serving the Philadelphia area since 1925.


Pennsylvania Historic Resource Survey Form


News about its closing:


Reed’s Country Store calling it quits


There's a person in the old photo, which makes it cool to blend with the present day
It's unfortunate the business was shut down
Definitely the Old West scene!
Google Satellite Map: 901 Dekalb Pike Center Square, PA 19422
Atlas of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, 1871, Page 031; G.M. Hopkins & Company, Publisher

Bibliography:


"Distance Calculator." DaftLogic. Accessed September 18, 2019. https://www.daftlogic.com/projects-google-maps-distance-calculator.htm.


Herman, Andrew Mark, Postcard History Series: Eastern Montgomery County Revisited (Charleston: Arcadia Publishing, 2005), 122.


Historical Society of Montgomery County. Historical sketches : a collection of papers prepared for the Historical Society of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. (Norristown: Historical Society of Montgomery County, 1920), 139-155.


Hopkins, G.M. Atlas of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, Page 031, 1871.


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