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Rush Tavern (closed)

Formerly/Also Known As Ewing's Tavern

3735 National Pike
Farmington, PA 15437

From Searight's The Old Pike (1894):

We next reach the celebrated house of [P]Sebastian Rush, invariably called 'Boss.' It is not a wagon stand, but an old stage house. Here stage passengers took meals, which were invariably gotten up in the best style. The house was built in 1837 by Hon. Nathaniel Ewing, who then owned it. Rush moved into it soon after it was finished, as lessee of Judge Ewing, and not long after purchased it, and occupied it uninterruptedly to the present time. Here, also, is a store, postoffice and other improvements, constituting a little village called Farmington, and considered the grand commercial and business center of the mountains. Sebastian Rush is widely known as an influential Republican politician, has been superintendent of the road by appointment of the Governor, and nominated by his party for Associate Judge, but defeated by reason of the decided and long existing preponderance of the Democracy in the county. When a young man, and living in a small log house near the tavern stand of his brother, Charles, he was elected constable of his township, and, being too poor to own a horse, performed the functions of his office on foot. Since then he has made constables and other officers, and owned horses without number. Previous to 1837 the widow Tantlinger kept tavern in an old wooden house, on the ground now covered by the Rush house. The store here, before Rush came to the property, was conducted by Peter T. Laishley, an old and well known Methodist preacher, still living. He was then a Free Will Baptist. Morgan Jones also once kept store at this point. He is now a real estate broker in Philadelphia, and said to be wealthy. He had several brothers, among them David, John and Samuel E., who were well known. David settled in Wisconsin, and became Lieutenant Governor. John went to Kentucky, and became a prominent iron manufacturer. Samuel E. is a Probate Judge in southern Colorado. Allen Crane also once kept store here.

From the National Trust of Historic Places Nomination Form (1977):

The Rush House is located on the North side of Rt. 40. The front of the building faces South and is located 25 feet from the highway. The main body of the house runs East to West with an 'L' extending to the North on the West side. A unique feature of the structure is the fact that the South and East sides of the house are brick while the West and North walls and foundation are of field stone. The two types of construction are joined at the corners in a dove-tail effect. The brick used in construction of the house was fired on the site. The roofs of the two sections are gables and form a hipped roof at their intersection 'in the west end. There are chimneys in all three roof ends; an interior stone chimney in the north gable end of the wing, a interior brick chimney in the west end, and a double brick chimney in the east gable end.
The front facade is five bays wide with doorways in the second and third bay in the first story. These doorways are deep-set in plain jams and approached by a large stone stoop. The doors themselves are plain panel with large one light transoms. The door in the second bay has two one pane windows. The first story windows are 6-over-6 and set in plain frames with plain lug sills. A oITought iron store sign hangs over the sidewalk from between the doorways. The second story windows are one-over-one double hung sash windows also set in plain frames with plain lug sills. Three rOl'lS of extended brickwork supports the eaves on the front facade.
The east gable end is plain with only one, one~over-one double hung sash window in the gable end between the double chimney. A two story wooden porch is located east side of the wing. This porch is in poor condition.
The first story center hall leads to a double parlor, barroom, dining room and kitchen. Stairs from the center hall lead to a second story center hall and six bedrooms. There are fireplaces located in every room.
The Rush House was built in 1837 by Nathaniel Ewing. It was sold, soon after, to Sebastian (Boss) Rush who operated it as a stagecoach stop during the days of the greatest activity on the National Road. The house served as an agency of the National Road Stage Co. and as such enjoyed great patronage. The great and near-great of the day were entertained in the style for which Boss Rush was famous.
Ellis writes in the History of Fayette County, 'Mr. Rush once pointed out to the writer, when stopping with him, a room in which Gens. Jackson, Harrison, Taylor and Scott had slept and told him that Sam Houston, Henry Clay, Tom Corwin and Jenny Lind had lodged under his roof.' There is also evidence that President Polk and P.T. Barnum were among the many Illustrious guests. There is a ledger which Hr. Rush kept his accounts with the National Road Stage Co. and an entry for the date May 24, 1841 reads as follows: 'To bill for extra team laid over with H. Ca1y ..75¢.'
Jenny Lind and her manager, P.T. Barnum stopped overnight at the Rush House while returning from her western tour. Legend has it that she greeted local residents from the front steps of the house. In keeping with his reputation as a celebrated host, Mr. Rush served freshly caught trout for the parties' breakfast.
A large stable was maintained on the premises for housing extra teams and coaches. A large watering trough is still serving as a planter outside the kitchen door.
Commerce diminished on the Road with the coming of the railroad from Baltimore to Pittsburgh. The coaches were taken off the Road in 1852. One of the last entries in Hr. Rush's ledger is dated Dec. 15, 1852 and states rather sadly, 'The teams all left.' Operation as a hotel continued until the death, in 1962, of Sallie D. Rush, aged 94. Thomas Shanaberger purchased the property shortly therafter.

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Rush House
Rush House. Photo: Wikipedia.

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Last updated: 2014-04-05 16:33:20

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