The Golden Plough Tavern and the General Horatio Gates House
The Golden Plough Tavern, today, as seen from the northwest corner of Pershing and Market.
The Golden Plough Tavern as seen from the northwest corner of Pershing and Market. Artist William Wagner created this depiction of the tavern in 1830.
Golden Plough Tavern and General Gates House as they appeared in 1830, depicted by William Wagner.
Golden Plough Tavern and General Gates House as they appear today.
Photograph of the Golden Plough Tavern and the General Gates House before restoration work began in the early 1960s.
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.