15. Blawenburg Tavern

Updated: Jun 19, 2019

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Blawenburg Tavern has been the Hartshorne home for 60 years.

When it comes to success in real estate (and many other things in life) timing is critical. William M. Griggs must have had a strong hunch that it was time to build some houses and other services on the vacant acreage between the Van Zandt farm and the Covenhoven farm. He knew that the Georgetown-Franklin Turnpike had been approved by the State of New Jersey and that the rugged road that passed through Blawenburg along the ridge was scheduled to be improved.

He also knew that the building of a bridge across the Delaware River from New Hope to Lambertville would greatly increase the traffic on the planned turnpike. Travelers would need services – a place to eat and rest, a blacksmith shop to make horse and carriage repairs, and a general store for local residents and travelers. Griggs’s wife, Catherine, was the great-granddaughter of John Covenhoven who built his farmstead in 1757. Her mother, Susannah Stout, agreed to sell William and Catherine Griggs 100 acres that encompassed what would become the village and the road that bisected it. It was a developer’s dream come true.

The first thing they decided to build was a home for themselves that could also begin to serve the new passengers that would be traveling before their door. They decided that a multi-purpose tavern would be a good first building in Blawenburg Village.

Griggs did some marketing research and noted that the closest tavern was in Stoutsburg (aka Dogtown), two miles west of Blawenburg at Province Line Road, the road that divided east and west Jersey. There wasn’t another tavern to the east until you got to Rocky Hill. By horse and buggy on unimproved roads, this was a bit of a trek. He figured that a tavern would be a good investment, so they built the home in 1817 and opened the tavern in 1818.

This sign appears on the outside of the Hartshorne home today.

A 19th Century Rest Stop

In earlier times, taverns were not just places to go for food and drink. They served as all-purpose meeting areas, sometimes as post offices, convenience stores, courtrooms, and inns. In the case of Blawenburg Tavern, its function was dictated by its location. It was on a main route from Philadelphia to