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History of King of Prussia

King of Prussia was settled by Welsh immigrants in the early 1700’s who originally called it Reeseville, after a prominent family who owned much of the land. During the later part of the 18th century it became common to refer to the area as King of Prussia, after a tavern by that name operated by the Reese family. That may be the only piece of the puzzle which is certain; the exact date when the tavern was established, and the political reasons behind the name, are clouded by time.
 
The tavern was first licensed sometime between 1762 and 1769, but the building may have existed as a private residence as early as 1709. It was not uncommon at the time for homeowners situated on a main thoroughfare to take in travelers, and many inns evolved from private residence to public house over a period of years.
 
All agree that the inn was named to honor Frederick the Great, the King of Prussia from 1740 to 1746, but the political reasons behind the name are debated. One theory asserts it was named prior to the Revolution, to honor Frederick’s assistance to the British in the seven Years War with France, which ended in 1763. Others argue it was named to recognize Frederick’s support and admiration for George Washington during the Revolution. A more sales-oriented idea is that it was named to attract the business of Prussian soldiers camped at Valley Forge. But on a spy map of 1777, the inn is referred to as “Berry’s,” the name of the general manager at the time. In 1850 the postal service made common usage official, recognizing the surrounding town’s name as “King of Prussia.”

Article by Linda L. Riley, Valley Forge Convention & Visitors Bureau
 

   
 

 
 
 

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