The Golden Plough Tavern and the General Horatio Gates House
The Golden Plough Tavern and the General Gates House are part of the Colonial Complex and the larger York County History Center. Both buildings were restored in the 1960s, but were originally built in the eighteenth-century and are still in their original location. The furnishings and artifacts in the Golden Plough Tavern illustrate what early life in York was like especially for German immigrants. The Gates House is an example of an upper-class home during the eighteenth-century and is named after its most famous resident, General Horatio Gates.
Backstory and Context
The Golden Plough Tavern and General Horatio Gates House are eighteenth-century buildings that were restored in the 1960s and are now open to the public at select times as part of the larger York County History Center.
The Golden Plough Tavern was built in 1741 by Martin Eichelberger and is believed to be the oldest existing structure in the city of York. It is most likely that the first floor of the structure was built initially and that the second floor was added a few years later. The Golden Plough Tavern is located on Market Street, which was originally the Monocracy Trail. This route was at first a Native American path and later became a trade route leading to Western Maryland. The Golden Plough Tavern's location on the Monocracy Trail made it a convenient stop for travelers.
The nearby General Horatio Gates House was built by Joseph Chambers in the 1750s after he bought the Golden Plough Tavern. In the 1770s, Joseph Chambers sold the home to George Irwin, a shopkeeper who owned a number of properties in York. In 1778, Horatio Gates, a Revolutionary War general, rented the property from Irwin. Continental Congress had convened in York, and Gates arrived to serve as the President of the Board of War.
During Gates' time in York, many members of Continental Congress and the military were losing faith in General Washington's leadership. Some thought Gates would be a good replacement. The Marquis de Lafayette later writes of a dinner he had with Gates, where Lafayette toasts Washington as a show of support for Washington and to embarrass those who did not show the same loyalty.