Cheers and Beers originally the County Line Hotel
By 1850 the village in this location was called County Line after the road which was its main thoroughfare. (This road was the boundary between Bucks County founded in 1682 and Montgomery County founded in 1784.) The County Line Hotel was its first hotel/tavern built and operated by Jacob N. Souder in 1858 after the completion of the North Pennsylvania Railroad line from Philadelphia to Bethlehem in 1857. Perhaps Jacob foresaw the influx of workers, salesmen, and businesses who would help the village grow from businesses supporting the local farms to manufacturing factories with goods that could be transported to Philadelphia and beyond. In less than 10 years his vision had proven true with a population of 73 and businesses that included 2 chopping mills (one of which was owned by Souder), a general store, blacksmith shop, cigar shop, and a second hotel.
Backstory and Context
(This is a TEST by Brad logged into STHS account)
Telford is an example of a Pennsylvania farming community that evolved into a small town of businesses with the arrival of the North Pennsylvania Railroad. The railroad was the major factor in this change and the County Line Hotel was a beneficiary of this transformation.
Originally this land was home to Lenape Native Americans some of whom lived part of the year along the banks of the Indian Creek from which this region got its name. (The Indian Creek has its originating point in 'Telford' which of course had not yet been devloped nor named.) In 1681 King Charles II of England granted a land charter to William Penn in lieu of a monetary debt owed to Penn's father. Penn's invitation to Quakers, Germans, and Swiss to develop and populate his land resulted in the first change to this region. The newly arriving Europeans were mostly farmers willing to do the hard work of clearing the land covered in native oak, hickory and sycamore trees for the opportunities of a new start, freedom, and land ownership.
In 1849 amid this farmland was a place known as Hendrick's Blacksmith Shop after the man who operated the smith. This is the only building recorded as existing. The North Pennsylvania Railroad completed construction on its line from Philadelphia to Bethlehem in 1857 the same year John N. Souder began construction on his County Line Hotel. The hotel completed the following year and open to the public with its attached wash and bake houses was the meeting place for men to hear the news. It was also the place where businessmen met their customers to receive their payment and who were treated to a drink in return. Later a two-story Hall and Livery Stable were built on the rear of the property with frame stock sheds and yard. The livery stable had horses and carriages for hire by the day generally by salesmen and travelers. Cow sales were held in the yard of hotel until about 1925. The hall was used for for social clubs and public gatherings (singing schools, church services of Lutheran and Reformed believers on alternate Sundays, literary societies, and later Chamber of Commerce Banquets.)
By 1886 the town had grown with businesses supporting the area farms such as wheelwrighting, carriage making, smithing, stone cutting, tin smithing, carpentry, harness and cabinet making, watch making, cheese box manufacturing, planning mill, steam agricultural repair shop, and beer bottling establishment. Salesmen and travelers passing through on Telford's two main connecting roads (Reliance Road and Church Road) would overnight at the hotel.
Buildings located near the railroad tracks were always in danger from the sparks shooting from the coal-fired engines of passing trains. In 1903 just such a fire ignited the sheds of Moses Shelley's feed and mill located next to the tracks and other nearby businesses. In all 14 buildings were destroyed including 4 private dwellings. The fire was so intense it burned down the social hall, livery stable, shed and stockyard and the trees closest to the railroad tracks of the County Line Hotel. The hotel itself withstood the fire with only its walls being blistered by the flames.
The Hotel has gone through a few name changes in recent years but the outside of the building remains relatively true to its original construction while still offering alcohol, local news, entertainment, and rooms for rent.
Price, Jr., Charles H.. "Brief History of Souderton and Telford" manuscript. January 1st 1981. Accessed May 20th 2020.
Price, Jr., Charles H.. Montgomery County: The Second Hundred Years . Edition First. Volume 1. Norristown, PA. Montgomery County Federation of Historical Societies, 1983.
Hoishik, John. "Brief Glimpses of the Souderton- Telford History" Manuscript. Telford, PA. 1970.