About Mont Hill Tavern
|Since 2008, the Mount Hill Tavern has been a center for unique casual dining and community conversation. From the area’s finest burgers to carefully crafted seafood and steak entrees, the tavern features culinary selections for everyone. The taverns beverage list includes a diverse craft beer list, an extensive wine list and a unique mixed drink menu. The original stone building at Mount Hill was built in 1798 and was operated as a tavern from 1805 to 1821. Godfrey Fritchey, the original owner of Mount Hill, was an influential early settler of the Harrisburg area. Almost all of the building’s interior and exterior is the original from 1798.The tavern is also a hub for community conversation and events. Wine and cuisine dinners from regions all around the world are featured regularly and other events are forums about history, politics and what’s happening in Central Pennsylvania and the world. In the 18th century taverns were places for food and beverages, but they were also places where people went to find out what was going on in their area and in the world around them. The Mount Hill Tavern continues that tradition in the 21st century.
|The original stone building at Mount Hill was built in 1798 by Godfrey Fritchey, one of Harrisburg’s earliest settlers. Fritchey was born in Schoenlinder, Germany, near Dresden, in 1755. In 1783, he traveled with a companion to the new United States, fully intending to return home, and never left. Life really is what happens while you’re making other plans…In 1789, Fritchey purchased 25 acres of land on this site from Andrew Berryhill, the property’s original owner. Berryhill had received a warrant from the Quaker government for this tract of land on May 6, 1765. By 1798, Fritchey had built the two-story fieldstone house. It was not the typical 18th century home in this area. Most houses built here during that time were small log structures, and it’s clear that Fritchey came to the United States with considerable wealth. He designed this house to resemble his former home in Bavaria, and it became known in this early community as the Fritchey Mansion. On July 24th, 1787, Fritchey married Maria Dorothea Bucher in Lebanon. Dorothy and Godfrey lived here in the house that they’d built and raised 13 children.
On April 16, 1805, Godfrey Fritchey obtained a liquor license and operated the Fritchey Tavern here. The original spirits license to Mount Hill, dated 1805 and issued by then Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Governor Thomas McKean, reads:“Whereas Godfrei Fritchey hath been recommended to me, as a sober and fit person to keep a House of Entertainment, and being requested to grant him a license for the same, I do hereby license and allow the said Godfrei to keep a Public House in the Township of Paxton Dauphin County for selling Wine, Rum, Brandy, Beer, Cyder, and all other spirituous Liquors.”A copy of the original license hangs in the bar at the tavern. Fritchey Tavern was an obvious stop for traffic using the main thoroughfare, now Linglestown Road, which fronted the property.
|Fritchey operated the tavern until his death in 1821, at the age of 66. In his will, Godfrey passed the property on to his wife, Dorothy. A portion of his will reads:
“I give unto my beloved wife Dorothy the tavern house with all the other buildings wherein I dwell and reside with my family and all the land thereto belonging containing about 25 acres.”
It’s clear from the will that a number of outbuildings existed on the site. The rebuilt fireplace at the current entrance to the tavern was originally the fireplace of the summer kitchen, which was one of the buildings that sat behind the house. What can now be seen as a small depression in the ground directly behind the old building is the site of the original well.
The building exists today in nearly original condition. The floors, walls, woodwork, hardware, stairway, and fireplaces are almost all original to the house, including the glass in the windows, meaning that they were here at a time when Washington was still alive and the United States was still a fledgling nation.