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Peek Into the Past
The long, rich history of the Golden Pheasant is reflective of the history of Bucks County. Harkening back to a way of life long forgotten, the spattering of covered bridges, stone walls, and notable buildings along the canal, and all throughout Bucks County, remind us of how much history lives here.
In the Beginning
The current property on which the Golden Pheasant sits was part of the London company land grant. The land belonged to Arthur Erwin, a Scotch-Irish immigrant who settled in Bucks County in 1768. Erwin was a Colonel respectively in the Fourth and Second Battalions of the Bucks County Militia. Arthur Erwin is best known for his role in assisting Washington with the crossing of the Delaware River on Christmas night, 1776.
A Ferry and a Furnace
River Road is extended from Lumberville, north through London Ferry, now Erwinna, to the Durham Furnace. London Ferry was a major ferry crossing to Frenchtown, New Jersey, and to markets north. Durham Furnace was also a major destination for iron goods like tools, pots, pans, stoves, and fireplace equipment.
A New Owner of the 46 Acres
After his death, Erwin’s family sold numerous parcels of land, including 46 acres in 1801 on which the Golden Pheasant Inn now stands.
Birth of Waterman's Inn
Joseph Haney bought the Inn property for 550 pounds and applied for a tavern license. The construction of a tavern, known as Waterman’s Inn, most likely grew out of the need of area farmers who traveled the river road with their grain.
Sold for $1,950!
Fast forward a few years, the property was sold to Patrick Mulvaney for a whopping $1,950. The deed of transfer indicates the existence of the tavern. A tavern license was issued to Mulvaney shows his business was called Waterman's Inn.
The Delaware Division
The Delaware Division of the Pennsylvania Canal was opened primarily to transport anthracite coal from the Pennsylvania mines to major east coast cities. The new canal ran directly through Mulvaney’s property, and it is likely that he constructed new buildings, including the mule barn for travelers passing through.
A Saw Mill, a Flour Mill, and a Tavern
New construction of a neighboring flour mill and saw mill, owned by Henry Stover, allowed Mulvaney to benefit financially, and he sold the property for a considerable profit to John Buck 1838.
The Inn Goes to Auction
After the sudden death of Buck in Oct. 1841, the Inn property was bought at auction by James Leslie. In the years that followed, the village of Erwinna experienced growth and expansion as a railroad line across the river at Frenchtown helped to make the area a vital transportation destination.
Rising from the Ashes
After a massive fire burned the original tavern on property to the ground, we believe Leslie reconstructed it based on a documented advertisement that ran for several years following. This reconstructed tavern serves as the current main building of the Golden Pheasant.
From 1866-1885, the property changed hands several times, the only documented owner being Charles Eichlin.
50 Years of Tourism
Jacob and Elizabeth Oberacher purchased the Inn and held the property for nearly 50 years. However, by the early-20th century, canal traffic had slowed considerably, and by 1931 the canal traffic stopped altogether. Tourism, on the other hand, began to take the place of canal freight and became the major industry supporting the tavern’s existence.
The Faure Era
The Faure family purchased the Inn and surrounding properties and operated it for over 30 years until 2017.
The Golden Pheasant was purchased by the Thompson family and re-opened in 2020. It is a natural expansion to the popular Blass Bass Hotel and Lumberville General Store just down River Road in the charming village of Lumberville, PA.