Welcome to Frank Brusca's
Facebook   Twitter
Random Page
US 40 Shield
The best source of historic and contemporary information for America's finest transcontinental highway.
If you see a page you like, bookmark it with the social media links below.


Hastings's Tavern (site)

700 East National Pike
Washington, PA 15301

From Searight's The Old Pike (1894):

Four miles west from Ward’s the old and popular wagon stand of Thomas Hastings is reached. In proceeding onward toward the Hastings House a celebrated point is passed, known in the peculiar vocabulary of the road as “Egg Nog Hill.” On this hill for many years lived in retirement Samuel Flowers, one of the oldest, steadiest and best known wagoners of the road. William D. Evans, residing in Malvern, Iowa, a son of Gabriel Evans, of the old firm of Kinkead, Beck & Evans, contractors and bridge builders, before mentioned, furnishes the following story as to the origin of the name of this hill: The engineers in locating the line of the road were much exercised in fixing the grade at this point, and before arriving at conclusions the sun went down, and with a view probably of stimulating their minds to clearer conceptions, they ordered a bucket of egg-nog to be served in their shanty. Partaking freely of this ancient, agreeable and strong beverage during the night, they proceeded next morning with the work in hand, and established the grade without further embarrassment. The chain carriers and other employees were called in to the rough, roadside banquet, and the region all around echoed the notes of that night’s revelry, and ever thereafter the locality has been known as “Egg Nog Hill.” If this is a true account of the origin of the name, and the authority quoted is respectable and credible, there are many persons willing to aver that the influence of the egg nog was anything but propitious, since the grade of the road at this point is nothing to boast of. At the foot of Egg Nog Hill a valley is reached over which the road passes for a distance of two miles on a level grade, varied by slight undulations, terminating at or near the old Buchanan postoffice. This portion of the road was called by old stage drivers “The Long Stretch,” and over its favorable grade stage teams sped with more than ordinary rapidity. It is considered germaine to state in this connection, that the general grade of the road has been much and sharply criticised, and by many condemned outright. The main point of objection urged against the grade is, that it involves many long and steep hills, which could have been avoided by making side cuts and occupying the valleys, and this is true, but any other location would have lengthened the line and increased the cost of construction and maintenance. David Shriver, of Cumberland, was the chief engineer in charge of the location, and instructed by the Government to make the line as straight as practicable, within the limit of a five degree elevation. Besides, there was a popular theory when the line was located, that a road over hills was not as fatiguing to horses as a road with a uniform grade. It was argued that a horse is provided with two sets of muscles, one of which is used in going up and the other in going down a hill, and the conclusion was that horses were relieved and rested by a change from an up to a down grade. After this digression, the reader’s attention is invited back to the old tavern of Thomas Hastings. It is situate on the summit of a hill of average length and grade on the south side, and a short distance back from the road. The location of this house, with reference to the road, is similar to that of the old red tavern, two miles east of Brownsville. The Hastings House was a leading tavern of the road, all through its prosperous era. The large patronage it enjoyed is the best evidence that it was well kept.
John W. McDowell, of Uniontown, an ex-County Commissioner of Fayette county, Pennsylvania, was working on the road in 1844 under the superintendency of William Searight, and boarding at the Hastings House. On the morning of the election of that year he rose “bright and early,” took his breakfast “before the break of day,” mounted a horse, and rode to Mt. Washington, the polling place for Wharton township, which was his home, in time to vote for Polk and Dallas. McDowell frequently relates this incident of his life, when recounting his party services, and lays particular stress on the circumstance that the dining room girls gladly furnished him his breakfast and cheered him on his mission. The distance from the old Hastings tavern to Mt. Washington is forty-two miles.
While the road was undergoing construction, there was a tavern about midway of the “Long Stretch,” and on the south side of the road. It was kept by one Smith, of the extensive American family of that name. At times there was great disorder and much tumult, amounting almost to riot, at this old tavern, and on one of these occasions the old militia of Washington county was ordered to the scene to enforce the keeping of the peace. These disorders, like similar outbreaks of the present day, were no doubt attributable to the immoderate use of intoxicants.

View user comments below.

User Comments · Add a Comment


No comments have been posted.

Feedback: Do you have corrections or contributions for this page? Want to make a suggestion? Click here to send me an e-mail. I am espcially interested in memories, stories, postcards and photographs. Thanks!


Last updated: 2014-05-28 07:10:09

  Works best with Firefox.


Frank X. Brusca. All rights reserved.

Contact · About · Advertising · Terms · Privacy · Legal
Hosted by 1&1