The story of the General Warren can be followed through its name changes. Originally named for two British naval heroes, the “Sign of Admiral Vernon” was established in 1745 by George Aston to honor Edward ·’Old Grog” Vernon and re-named the “Sign of Admiral Warren” in 1746 for Sir Peter Warren, hero of Louisburg. Local militia and British troops rendezvoused here 1758/59 for the Forbes/Stanwix Expedition to Fort Duquesne (Pittsburgh), securing British control of the Ohio Valley. In 1777, New Jersey Continental s from Washington’s Army camped here the night before the “Battle of the Clouds” on September 16.
Lord Cornwallis ‘s Division from Howe’s Army passed by on September 18, and near midnight on September 20, British forces under General Charles “No-flint” Grey paused here enroute to the Battle of Paoli (1 mile south of this point) seeking information about Wayne’s camp. Tavern keeper Peter Mather, reputedly a Loyalist, refused cooperation. He was held captive at the tavern with other civilians during the battle; all were eventually released unharmed.
Purchased from the Penn family in 1786 by Casper Fahnestock, an ·’old Sieben-la ger” (Seventh -Day worshiper) from Ephrata Cloister, ” the Warren” was popular with German farmers and wagon masters carrying goods from Lancaster to Philadelphia. Business thrived with the 1792-96 construction of The Philadelphia and Lancaster Turnpike, America’s first long,
macadamized” toll road paved with gravel.
The Inn’s Dormant Period
The Warren fell into decline once the first railroad built nearby reduced turnpike traffic in the l830’s.
The advent of the motorcar in the early 20th century resurrected the business. Once again, a restaurant, then in the mid l920’s it was The Point Comfort Rest Home nursing home, and in the 1950’s it once again opened as a restaurant with weekly boarding of the rooms upstairs. The 1960’s saw The Warren Tavern as a bar, with pool tables and casual food, frequented by bikers due to it being of the main thoroughfare of the “Old Lincoln Highway’·
Starting in 1984, the current owners made great strides to return the inn to its 18th Century elegance paired with modern amenities. The up stair floors were renovated into 8 suites, the addition of a private dining room and all-weather heated terrace for cocktail parties, outdoor dining and weddings. In 2005, the latest improvements included the Admiral Vernon Dining Room and the resurrection of The Warren Tavern, a spacious bar for dining and spirits, relocated to the original spot of the old tavern from the 19th Century. Today’s guest will find the perfect blend of old-world charm, excellence in American cuisine, fine wines & spirits, service and delightful overnight accommodations.