Many of the guests who stay at the Smithton have chosen the Inn for its unique history and character…because it’s one of the oldest Bed and Breakfasts in Lancaster County. There’s nothing better for history buffs than staying in a historic place as you soak in all the local history and sites that Lancaster County has to offer. For these guests, the Hans Herr House is on the short-list of places to visit, especially this year as Lancaster celebrates its 300th birthday. The 1719 House re-opens from its winter hibernation on April 1st. The hours are 9:00 am – 4:00 pm, Monday through Saturday until November 30th. There are many exciting events planned throughout the year. For a complete list, visit their website: http://www.hansherr.org/Home/Events
To wet your whistle, here’s a snapshot of the Hans Herr House’s history:The “Hans Herr House” is the oldest extant dwelling of a settlement on ten thousand acres granted in October of 1710 to nine Mennonite men. In the spring of 1711, seven of those men came with their families to establish homes in what was then the westernmost edge of Pennsylvania. Their route to the area followed an ancient Native path called the “Great Conestoga Road”, which passed within yards of the site on which, eight years later, the 1719 House would be built.The 1719 House, or “Hans Herr House” as it is known locally, is reputed to have been the home of Hans Herr and his wife Elizabeth. It was certainly the home of Christian Herr and his wife Anna, and several of Christian and Anna’s children. Both Hans Herr and Christian Herr were bishops of the Mennonite faith.The Hans Herr House was home to several generations of Hans Herr’s family until the 1860s, after which it was used as a barn and storage shed. It was restored to colonial-era appearance in the early 1970s. It is now part of a Museum complex which includes three Pennsylvania German farmhouses, several barns and other outbuildings, and an extensive collection of farm equipment spanning three centuries. The 1719 House is perhaps the most frequently pictured building in Lancaster County. The artist Andrew Wyeth, himself a relative of Hans Herr, created a well-known image of the house before its restoration.