The History of the Boalsburg Tavern – and the Woman Who Saved It

The History of the Boalsburg Tavern – and the Woman Who Saved It

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By Cathy Horner and the Centre County Historical Society

The small village of Boalsburg, Pennsylvania was bustling with activity at the turn of the nineteenth century. Two major stagecoach routes passing through town made it the perfect place for an inn and tavern. Colonel James Johnston and his wife, Hannah, built the Boalsburg Tavern in 1819. Using limestone quarried nearby and cut on the premises, the beautiful stone structure became the centerpiece of the town diamond. The tavern has passed through many owners in the 200 years it has served the townspeople and travelers. Cathy Horner has lived “on the hill” in Boalsburg for 35 years and until researching this book, didn’t know that the early legal name for “the Hill” was Harris Heights. She has been involved with the Centre County Historical Society as a volunteer and is currently serving on the CCHS Board of Governors. She was one of the researchers and writers for the book, A War, Three Women, and a Tradition: The History of Boalsburg in the Civil War, that was published several years ago. Cathy realizes that Boalsburg is a very special place with a very special history and hopes that this publication helps keep that history alive for the next generation.

Throughout the last two centuries, care has been taken to preserve the original elements of this historic building. The one person that deserves the highest admiration is Roanna (Billy) Hill Winsor, a young woman who saved the building from certain demolition in 1937. Duffy’s Boalsburg Tavern is a significant piece of Boalsburg’s history. May it stand another two hundred years!   

 

About the author:

 

Cathy Horner has lived “on the hill” in Boalsburg for 35 years and until researching this book, didn’t know that the early legal name for “the Hill” was Harris Heights. She has been involved with the Centre County Historical Society as a volunteer and is currently serving on the CCHS Board of Governors. She was one of the researchers and writers for the book, A War, Three Women, and a Tradition: The History of Boalsburg in the Civil War, that was published several years ago. Cathy realizes that Boalsburg is a very special place with a very special history and hopes that this publication helps keep that history alive for the next generation.