The Cashtown Inn was built circa 1797 and was named for the peaceful crossroads village where the name Cashtown was derived from the business practices of the first innkeeper, Peter Marck, who had insisted on cash payments for the goods he sold and the highway tolls he collected. The Inn was briefly occupied by Confederate cavalry under Jeb Stuart in October 1862, this was the second time in less than a year that the Rebels had invaded Cashtown.
During the Gettysburg Campaign, Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia had surged across southern Pennsylvania at will until June 28. Late that day scouts informed Lee that the Union army was north of the Potomac River and coming his way. Quickly Lee ordered his scattered army to concentrate at Cashtown, which stood strategically on his supply line back to Virginia. Within hours, legions of lean Rebel soldiers descended from Cashtown Gap and shuffled past Jacob Mickley’s Inn.
As one of the oldest hostelries in the region, Cashtown Inn had served “for the entertainment of strangers and travelers” since 1815. That fateful summer of 1863, however, Cashtown Inn served hundreds of unwelcome strangers, including Confederate Gens. A.P. Hill, Henry Heth, and John D. Imboden. Suffering from a chronic ailment when he arrived at Cashtown at the head of his corps on June 29, the 37-year old Hill set up his headquarters in the relative comfort of Cashtown Inn. The cellar also included two giant brick ovens where Confederate commissaries could bake bread in abundance.
Cashtown itself was transformed into an armed camp for several days in late June and early July 1863, while the battle of Gettysburg raged just eight miles to the east. It was from there that the pivotal battle was launched when A.P. Hill sent Maj. Gen. Henry Heth’s division to Gettysburg for shoes and supplies. Cashtown Inn bustled with activity during this time while Confederate officers and their staffs were quartered here. A stable located next to the Inn (but no longer standing) was used to shelter the wounded, as were many of the homes in the vicinity. Also dotting the orchards and meadows surrounding the village were hundreds of Lee’s supply wagons and the cannons and carriages belonging to his artillery reserve.
Lee used many of these same vehicles to transport his wounded back to Virginia following his defeat at Gettysburg. Commander of the 17-mile long wagon train of misery, Brig. Gen. John Imboden made his headquarters at Cashtown Inn. On July 4, Imboden wrote, “About 4 pm the head of the column was put in motion near Cashtown and began the ascent of the mountain in the direction of Chambersburg.” It wasn’t until the next day when Imboden passed over South Mountain with the last of the wagons that peace returned to Cashtown.
The decades after though hadn’t been as fortunate for the Cashtown Inn. In 1948 a by-pass constructed on a segment of the Lincoln Highway (Route 30) relegated Cashtown Inn to the backwash of tourist traffic. The Inn fell to disrepair and some ill-repute. Thanks to the tireless efforts of former owners Charles “Bud” Buckley and his wife Carolyn, Cashtown Inn was restored and is once again providing for the “entertainment of strangers and travelers.
A ghost of a Civil War soldier haunts this Inn. Footsteps have been heard walking throughout the Inn and occasionally knocks have been heard on doors, particularly to room 4. A soldier also appeared in a photograph taken of the inn around 1900. On the upper floors of the house, some claim to feel the presence of the “Lady in White.”
Dates & Groups Investigated
1325 Old Route 30, Cashtown-McKnightstown, PA 17310
- Official Website is www.cashtowninn.com