Bird in Hand

Bird in Hand (HMLKI)

Location: Newtown, PA 18940 Bucks County
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Country: United States of America
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N 40° 13.641', W 74° 56.212'

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Newtown Heritage Walk No. 34

The Bird in Hand (formerly the "Red Lion Inn" and "Old Frame House") has played a rich and diverse role in the history of Newtown. There is record of a tavern on this site dating back to 1686, and it is considered the oldest frame structure still standing in Pennsylvania. The Inn was the site of the only Revolutionary War action to take place in Newtown. Following the Battle of Trenton in December 1776, George Washington's Continental soldiers used The Bird in Hand as an overflow jail to hold Hessian officers before marching them to Philadelphia. This site was also the location of the Loyalist Raid of 1778. This structure remained a tavern until 1858, but the name was changed in 1817 after Edward Hicks painted a sign representing Benjamin Franklin's adage, "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush." Over the years, it housed Newtown's first post office and the Library Company.

In 1819, The Newtown Reliance Company for the Detection and Apprehension of Horse Thieves and Other Villians was founded here. The Newtown Reliance Company is the third oldest "Horse Company" in Bucks County and one of Newtown's oldest organizations. It was established to offer its members mutual protection and insurance. A hand bill was given to members to fasten to the inside of their stable doors as a warning that the owner, with the support of the other residents in the vicinity, would tolerate no horse thieves or other villians on the premises. The Newtown Reliance Company continues today, despite the fact that horses have long since been replaced by automobiles as the common mode of transportation.

This historic house rendered its last public service during World War II, when it was the headquarters for the Local Selective Service Board, Ration Board, and various other civilian defense agencies. It is now a private residence.
Year Placed2007
Placed ByNewtown Reliance Company, Jonathan & Elizabeth Hunt, and the Newtown Historical Association
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Tuesday, September 16th, 2014 at 4:56am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18T E 505371 N 4452993
Decimal Degrees40.22735000, -74.93686667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 40° 13.641', W 74° 56.212'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds40° 13' 38.46" N, 74° 56' 12.72" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)215, 267
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 1-99 Mercer St, Newtown PA 18940, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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