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Zercher’s Hotel

Zercher’s Hotel

William Noble-Samuel Denney House & Inn– A.K.A. Christiana Machine Co played a central role in a series of events, beginning on September 11, 1851, that have been called, collectively, a major spark in the kindling of the Civil War ten years later. The Christiana Riot, as it was called, forever placed the Lancaster County community on the historical map and it represented a significant point in the notable career of U.S. Congressman, Thaddeus Stevens, an ardent Abolitionist and Underground Railroad activist. The Whig Congressman from Lancaster County served as co-counsel for the defense of the 38 citizens charged with treason against the United States for their participation in what is now referred to as The Resistance at Christiana. It was at the Noble-Denney House and Inn that the postmortem examination of the body of slain slave owner Edward Gorsuch was held, following his death in a violent fight at the William Parker farm, located a few miles south and east of the town of Christiana. Noble-Denney House and Inn was the site of the first phase of the official inquest into this pivotal event. The thirty-eight accused with treason were held at Noble-Denney House and Inn until they could be transported to Moymensing Prison in Philadelphia for trial. The eventual acquittal of the Christiana townsmen on federal treason charges effectively challenged the legal and political strength of the 1850 Fugitive Slave Law, and began its eventual demise. Commemorative events marking the 60th anniversary of the Resistance were held on the steps of the hotel in 1911. The extant monument on site was dedicated to those involved in the Resistance. The site of the actual confrontation was cleared on the Parker Farm House in 1899.

Visitor Information: Currently open to public.

Location: 11 Green Street, Christiana, 17509

National Park Unit: No

Ownership: Louis J. Bond

Location Type: Site

People/Organizations Associated with the site: Vigilance Committee

Freedom Seekers: William Parker

UGRR Operatives: Thaddeus Stevens