Views of a Philadelphia Ale House
have been searching for information on some prints of inns and ale
houses that I bought. Information in the bottom of each reads:
"J.P. 1908 - Copyright Robt. Smith Ale Brewing Co.," as well
as information about the picture. Can anyone tell me something about
these prints? So far, I've found the following information but would
like to know why they may have printed them and what sort of prints
these might be.
company was started in 1774 by Robert Smith. One of the prints is of his
first ale house in 1774, opened at Saint John & Noble Streets in
Philadelphia in 1774. Through relocations and buy outs, the Robert Smith
brand survived until 1986. In 1893 Robert Smith died at age 84. The
company was then reorganized and renamed, To become the Robert Smith Ale
Brewery (owned by Schmidt's) - which is the company that copyrighted my
Another of the Prints is
of The Blue Anchor Inn, built at the corner of High Street and Broad
Streets in Burlington, New Jersey. The Third Provincial Congress of New
Jersey met at the Tavern in 1776, and adopted a new State Constitution
on July 2, 1776. In addition to declaring independence from Great
Britain - two days early - this constitution granted voting rights to
all citizens worth 50 pounds, and numerous women and minorities voted
throughout the state until an all-male State Assembly again restricted
the right to white males in 1809.
During the Revolution,
the Tavern lodged George Washington, as well as American generals Knox,
Green, Steuben, Cadwalader, Reed, Dickinson and Maxwell. On the opposing
side, Count Donop, General Rahl, and Knyphausen rested here.
In 1856, the current Blue
Anchor Inn was built on the same site. Known as the Beldin House in the
1860's, and later as the Metropolitan Inn, it served such guests as
General Ulysses S. Grant, General George B. McClellan, Congressman
McKinley, and Woodrow Wilson. It was used as a Republican headquarters
during Lincoln's presidential campaign, and lodged stars of the stage in
town for performances at the nearby Birch Opera House.
The Blue Anchor Inn is
presently owned by the City of Burlington, and is being offered for sale
for $1.00 - yes, one dollar! to any party willing and
financially able to renovate it in accordance with the guidelines of the
National Historic Trust, including renovation of the facade.
Janet Graven Tourtellot
I recently found three of these brewery prints from Philadelphia, Copyright
1909. Robert Smith Ale Brewing Company, marked J.P 1908 - of the "Drawbridge
and Blue Anchor Inn," the "London Coffee House" and the
"Penny Pot Tavern and Landing." She says they're in three
matching two-tone really neat and great old wooden frames.
She says that she
remembered them the moment she saw them in a local antiques shop as being
from somewhere in her childhood in New York or New Jersey during the 1940s
According to the
Philadelphia Print Shop, in answer to Janet's inquiry about her prints,
they're by James Preston, from a set of 12 prints of Philadelphia taverns
belonging to the Robert Smith Ale Brewing Co., 1909.
The Philadelphia Print Shop
gives this description: "A colorful and interesting print set of
twelve images showing Philadelphia taverns, inns, and breweries from ‘days
gone by.’ Each print sets the building in a street scene filled with
activity. Philadelphia prints are well known for containing scenes of city
life, and these early twentieth century images carry on that tradition.
Also included on each print is text giving something of the history of the
businesses depicted. Decorative and of historical interest, this is a
delightful series of Philadelphiana."
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