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A Brief History

The Washington House & Sellersville Theater 1894

  • 1742-1798

    A farmhouse is built by German immigrants along a Lenape trail, as shown by historic tax records.

  • 1777

    The Liberty Bell allegedly passes through Sellersville in its escape from the British.

  • 1850s-70s

    The first tavern license is obtained for The Washington House. Many additions, including the iconic tower, are built.

  • 1894

    A stable is built next door to board horses belonging to patrons of The Washington House. This structure later becomes Sellersville Theater 1894.

  • 1909

    J. J. Witmer, the owner at the time, adds The Witmer Room, the final dining space on the first floor. It is built shoddily above a well, which becomes apparent during the 2016 renovations.

  • 1920s

    Prohibition goes into effect, but liquor is still served at The Washington House with the help of hiding places. Skeptical federal agents take the original wooden bar outside and destroy it.

  • 1933

    Prohibition is repealed and a new front bar is lovingly carved by local craftsman J. R. Newbold, whose name is inscribed behind it.

  • 1950

    The “Selvil Theatre” opens, transforming the old stable building into a movie theater. It is gutted by fire in 1970.

  • 1972

    The theater is repaired and “Cinema 1894” opens.

  • 1985

    The current owners, William Quigley and Elayne Brick, obtain The Washington House. One year later, after a series of unfortunate fires, intensive renovations begin.

  • 2002

    William and Elayne reunite the old stable building with The Washington House and renovate to open a live performance venue, Sellersville Theater 1894. More additions are made to enlarge the lobby and the performer’s lounge in 2008.

  • 2016

    Substantial additions and renovations are made to The Washington House, and the Hotel opens its doors.

Compiled by Robbie Fischer, 2018.
Special thanks to the Sellersville Museum.

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