Lesson Plan

At a Crossroads: The King of Prussia Inn

King of Prussia Inn

Overall Rating

Not that bad
Add your review
Grade Level:
Middle School: Sixth Grade through Eighth Grade
Literacy and Language Arts,Social Studies
Lesson Duration:
90 Minutes
Common Core Standards:
6-8.RH.2, 6-8.RH.3, 6-8.RH.4, 6-8.RH.5, 6-8.RH.6, 6-8.RH.7, 6-8.RH.8, 6-8.RH.9, 6-8.RH.10, 9-10.RH.1, 9-10.RH.2, 9-10.RH.3, 9-10.RH.4, 9-10.RH.5, 9-10.RH.6, 9-10.RH.7, 9-10.RH.8, 9-10.RH.9, 9-10.RH.10
Additional Standards:
US History Era 2 Standard 3A: The student understands colonial economic life and labor systems in the Americas.
Curriculum Standards for Social Studies from the National Council for the Social Studies.
Thinking Skills:
Remembering: Recalling or recognizing information ideas, and principles. Understanding: Understand the main idea of material heard, viewed, or read. Interpret or summarize the ideas in own words. Applying: Apply an abstract idea in a concrete situation to solve a problem or relate it to a prior experience. Analyzing: Break down a concept or idea into parts and show the relationships among the parts. Creating: Bring together parts (elements, compounds) of knowledge to form a whole and build relationships for NEW situations. Evaluating: Make informed judgements about the value of ideas or materials. Use standards and criteria to support opinions and views.

Essential Question

How and why do the uses of land change over time?


1. Describe the significance of the King of Prussia Inn, including within transportation history;
2. Examine how archeology and artifacts found at the King of Prussia Inn help us better understand the people that used the inn and its use over different periods of time;
3. Outline the preservation efforts of federal, state, and local organizations to save the inn;
4. Research a historic inn in their community to determine its impact on the town and how the town impacted the historic site.


Time Period: Early 18th century to late 20th century 
Topics: This lesson could be used in units relating to the life and culture of colonial America, archeology, transportation history, and settlement and use of land.


A crowd of local residents, the press, and employees of the various agencies and contractors who had worked on the preparations started gathering at dawn. At about 9:00 a.m. the sound of the motors from the self-propelled jacks increased in volume and pitch, the crowd held its collective breath, and slowly, inches at a time, the venerable old building began to move. Traveling only feet an hour, the inn made its way up Route 202, passed safely over the culvert, to Gulph Road, where it made a right turn--with contractors soaping the tires so they could slide along the curbing and manually turning the jacks. From there the inn proceeded about a half mile to its new site.

Moving the King of Prussia Inn to a new location was just one of the many changes witnessed by the inn during its history. When the inn was first built in 1719, Pennsylvania was still a British colony. Though that building was but a small farmhouse, the inn later grew to a prosperous tavern and inn at the heart of a town of the same name. For more than two centuries, the King of Prussia adapted to its ever-changing surroundings. In 1952, the State of Pennsylvania acquired the property for roadway improvements. For nearly 50 years, the inn sat idle until the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation accepted a plan by the King of Prussia Chamber of Commerce at Valley Forge for the relocation of the historic inn. Today the Chamber of Commerce occupies the building, and its story is preserved for generations to come.

Lesson Hook/Preview

Pennsylvania was still a British colony when the King of Prussia Inn was built in 1719 at the intersection of Swedesford and Gulph Roads. Though that building was but a small farmhouse, the house later grew to a prosperous tavern and inn at the heart of a town by the same name.

For more than two centuries, the inn and farmhouse functioned with varying degrees of prosperity and fame. The inn provided hospitality to travelers when the colony was just a scattering of farms around the very young city of Philadelphia. It is likely the inn attracted traders on the road from the port of Wilmington, Delaware, who were going north to Norristown, Pennsylvania, where barges could take their goods east on the Schuylkill River to Philadelphia. It also seems likely that the crossroads--upon which the inn was built--influenced the making of this home into a tavern and inn.

The King of Prussia, like other historic inns, links us to the day-to-day lives of travelers, inn keepers, and merchants; and to important trends in the commercial and social history of our country. Historic inns, like the King of Prussia, dotted the major transportation routes and were usually located at important crossroads. Their histories are very much tied to the history of the American transportation network. In the course of providing food, rest, and entertainment for generations of travelers, the inn witnessed many events, trends, and ideas that are central to American history. These included the early network of roads and turnpikes that were essential to the rise of Colonial commerce and trade; the comings and goings of armies during the American Revolution; urban and suburban growth that followed the improvement of local roads in the 19th and 20th centuries; and the rise of the modern American transportation network. After extensive efforts on behalf of preservationists and transportation officials to save this structure from encroaching suburban growth, the inn now serves as a wonderful example of the importance of preserving our past for the future.


Getting Started Prompt
Map: Orients the students and encourages them to think about how place affects culture and society
Readings: Primary and secondary source readings provide content and spark critical analysis.
Visual Evidence: Students critique and analyze visual evidence to tackle questions and support their own theories about the subject.
Optional post-lesson activities: If time allows, these will deepen your students' engagement with the topics and themes introduced in the lesson, and to help them develop essential skills.



Additional Resources

PENNDOT Cultural Resources Management Program
Visit the PENNDOT website for more information about their cultural resources program and for details about some of their historic preservation efforts including the King of Prussia Inn. Also included on the website are the procedures PENNDOT must follow to insure that proposed transportation improvement projects will do no unnecessary harm to the Commonwealth's heritage.

Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC)
Visit the PHMC website for more information about Pennsylvania history and historic preservation. Included on the website is a section title Protecting Historic Places which provides local, regional, and federal tools to protect historic resources.

National Park Service Archeology and Ethnography Program
The National Park Service is steward of a diverse cultural legacy. From the cliff dwellings of the Southwest to the reminiscences of neighborhood residents where Martin Luther King, Jr. grew up, this legacy represents a continuum of American heritage--its places, objects, and traditions. The NPS Archeology Program provides national leadership, coordination, and technical guidance to aid in preserving this heritage. For the public, this website offers in-depth features on archeological projects, information on how to learn and participate in archeology, and a variety of teacher resources.

Society for American Archeology
The Society for American Archeology (SAA) is an international organization dedicated to the research, interpretation, and protection of the archeological heritage of the Americas. Included on the website is an extensive education section that provides Guidelines for the Evaluation of Archeology Education Materials among its many resources.

Society for Historical Archeology
The Society for Historical Archeology (SHA) is the largest scholarly group concerned with the archeology of the modern world (A.D. 1400-present). The main focus of the society is the era since the beginning of European exploration. Included on the website are a variety of online publication links and research tools.

Valley Forge National Historical Park
Valley Forge National Historical Park commemorates more than the collective sacrifices and dedication of the Revolutionary War generation, it pays homage to the ability of everyday Americans to pull together and overcome adversity during extraordinary times. Despite the privations suffered by the army at Valley Forge, George Washington and his generals built a unified professional military organization that ultimately enabled the Continental Army to triumph over the British.

International Association of Structural Movers (IASM)
For more details and photographs about the careful moving of the King of Prussia Inn, visit the IASM magazine online.

Library of Congress: Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS)/ Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) Collection
Search the HABS/HAER collection for detailed drawings, pictures, and documentation from their survey of the King of Prussia Inn. HABS/HAER is a division of the National Park Service.

Contact Information

Email us about this lesson plan

Last updated: October 12, 2018