An historical venue based in the rich tradition of hospitality, the William Penn Inn is renowned for our dedication to a tradition of continental country dining in a relaxed, cordial atmosphere along with exquisite cuisine, fine wines, personal service and flawless coordination. Our commitment to your complete satisfaction ensures you an incomparable dining experience.
The history of the William Penn Inn stretches back to the origins of country hospitality in Penn’s Woods, the colony founded by William Penn. In the 1700’s, William Penn and his 22-year-old daughter, Letitia, rode up from Philadelphia to visit and worship with Gwynedd Friends (Quakers). A public house was established on that site in 1714 to provide hearty food, refreshing drink and comfortable lodging, which made travel possible between Penn’s “greene country towne” of Philadelphia and the many smaller towns scattered north and west of the city.
The William Penn Inn sits on part of a 1,034 acre tract patented to Robert Evans, who is thought to be the brother of Thomas Evans, a man who owned a log cabin along the Native Americans’ well-traveled Maxatawny Trail (later known as Sumneytown Pike), near the Gwynedd Friends’ meetinghouse.
After the land was passed down through the Evans family and later sold, David Acuff secured a license in 1827 to operate the inn as a tavern, appointing it the “William Penn Hotel” to pay homage to the historic visitor and founder of Pennsylvania.
Revitalizing the Inn for the New Era
Although new forms of travel helped make the old public house unnecessary, the William Penn Inn was one of the few area hostels to remain active. In 1900, Algernon “Jerry” Yothers leased the inn from the Acuff estate and implemented extensive renovations. He built stables that boasted “pure artisan well water and electric lights,” according to the newspapers of the time. He also built a third story and added a two-story porch, dramatically changing the face of the tavern.
In 1920, Nicholas deWilde bought the inn and reopened it with a gala celebration. Drawing from his experience traveling abroad, deWilde based the foundation for his new restaurant on his passion for the service and surroundings offered in London’s gentlemen’s clubs. It was deWilde who collected and framed many of the old photos and mementos that are still displayed at the William Penn Inn today.
The Kubach family took over the inn in 1977 and later sold it to Peter R. Friedrich, who has been the proud owner since 1981. With his European training and background, Friedrich brought the renowned landmark into the 21st Century as the oldest continually-operated country inn in Pennsylvania.
Today and Every Day
We remain dedicated to our tradition of hospitality, offering superlative food, service and lodging in a relaxed, cordial setting. We invite you to wander through our historic venue and experience the rich history and hospitality that has been our hallmark for 300 years.