The Perkiomen Bridge Hotel, originally known as Lane’s Hotel, was a stop on the Philadelphia-to-Reading carriage line. The original building, the two story structure and one story kitchen seen on the left side, was built about 1689. Later expansions occurred in the 17th, 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1985. The building was auctioned in 2010 to the current owner, Tom Crawford.
Many old Pennsylvania inns have found themselves caught between cultural worth and contemporary economics, with their shapes and sites complicating their potential re-use. The Perkiomen Bridge Hotel is no different. Standing behind the hotel by the creek, it is easy to imagine the property as it looked 300 years ago. In front, it is ringed by a Tire Choice service center, a Royal Farms convenience store and gas station, and Keyser-Miller’s Ford dealership.
Our large inn stands three stories tall, its chimneys reaching toward a sky where birds of prey circle over wooded creek banks. Despite rotting window sills, patches of failing stucco and more than a few missing shutters, the inn still retains its dignity.
Construction of the stone bridge that gave the hotel its name began in 1797, since too many people had drowned attempting to ford the creek. By that time, the hotel had been vibrant for 100 years, and it would remain so for many more. In 1899, the proprietor was cited for unruly crowds engaged in “shouting, whooping, pounding of drums, using profane language and drunkenness.”
In the early 1900s, the Collegeville region was a popular destination for summer recreation and the inn was a popular stop for boaters. In the 1940s and 1950s, students from Ursinus College met there to discuss campus projects.
The last two decades have been hard on the place once billed as the nation’s oldest continuously operating hotel.