Built by Henry Paschall  in 1766 The Blue Bell Inn , also know as Blue Bell Tavern was the location of a 1777 battle during the British occupation of Philadelphia.  Blue Bell 's oldest section still stands at 7303 Woodland Avenue which at one time was the main stagecoach road between Philadelphia and the southern Colonies.

Picture By J. HaigisThe Blue Bell Inn is an 18th-century, two-story tavern resting on the cusp of Southwest Philadelphia and the borough of Darby. Originally built by Henry Paschall in 1766, the Blue Bell was noted for its prominent location on Kings Highway (now called Main Street/Woodland Avenue), a popular stagecoach route into the city that sat in close proximity to Pennsylvania’s first water-driven grist mill. While traveling, George Washington and his soldiers frequented the Inn on several occasions, once on their way to the Battle of Brandywine. Some of the men reportedly stayed late into the night, prompting the Inn’s owner to cover the bar with metal rods to ensure no alcohol would be stolen while he slept.

In November of 1777 the British were in control of Philadelphia  but did not have control of the river approaches
or Fort Mifflin or Fort Mercer, and could not bring supplies upriver. In order to get supplies the British had to 

forage, or send wagons down to the fleet at Chester, which made them vulnerable to the American raiding parties. One such party of about 28 Americans was stationed at the Blue Bell on the 

Darby Road.  When Fort Mifflin finally fell after a valiant defense,Lord Cornwallis sent some 2500 troops down the Darby Road to Chester. Accounts vary but one account says that when the British were passing the Blue Bell, a shot was fired from an upstairs window. The British rushed into the building and bayoneted 5 Americans on the stairs and took the remainder prisoners.

Sources:

Darby History J. Haigis

Blue Bell Postcards from the collection of Ed Springer

Top Photo by J. Haigis 


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Darby Creek Valley Association P.O. Box 732 Drexel Hill, PA 19026   |   Phone: 484.222.2502
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