The Bachmann Publick House (tavern or ale house) is the last stop for the Easton, Pennsylvania tour. Today’s stop, as all of our streetscapes in Easton, are brought to you courtesy of the research done by local Easton historian, Richard F. Hope (Easton History). The Bachmann Tavern consists of two stone buildings dating to the mid 1700s, and a brick addition on the rear built in 1827. The oldest part of the tavern (not specified in Hope’s work which section was constructed first) was constructed 1753 according to the cornerstone, just one year after the town of Easton was established in 1752. Bachmann’s tavern (or Publick House) was also used as a courtroom until the courthouse was constructed in 1765, and Benjamin Franklin attended court during the French and Indian War in the Bachmann. George Taylor bought the tavern in 1763 following foreclosure on Bachmann. Taylor added the second building in 1765.
Although the tavern went through a number of owners during the next 155 years, by the 1920s, some of the colonial-era windows were replaced with “large picture windows.” The building does retain many of its original and historic features, however, which include original windows, flooring, and a 14-panelled fireplace in the tavern room.
A $1.2 million restoration was completed in 2001, but by 2006 financial difficulties resulted in closing the museum, in spite of the significant fundraising that had been accomplished between the 1970s-2001 restoration. Northampton County took title rather than foreclose on the loan, and it became the home of the Northampton County Historical and Genealogical Society.
Some of you might not be surprised to learn that during the debate over the future of the building thought to be the oldest building in Easton, and carrying the prestige of being “one of the most authentic pre-Revolutionary War taverns in the United States,” one of the top considerations and favored by many was demolition of the historic property in order to build a parking lot. I wonder what would happen if it took 30 or more years to leverage enough money and consent of the governing body to construct a new Walmart–with its gigantic parking lot?