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In 1808, Septimus Evans from Warwick Township bought a 2-acre building lot at the corner of North Main and Broad streets for $250. He built a house and in 1812 applied for a license to turn his new dwelling into a tavern called the Green Tree Inn, its name derived from an evergreen growing in the yard.

The inn remained under the management of Evans until 1816 when he leased it to a succession of innkeepers. Due to debts owed, Evans eventually relinquished ownership after which multiple proprietors operated the tavern until it was purchased in 1866.

New owner Summers A. Smith, one of Doylestown’s most active businessmen and builder of many homes in the town, added the third floor and mansard roof to the house. In addition, he opened a shoe factory on the premises, which he operated until 1868.

The building changed hands several more times until purchased by I. Webster Grim in 1890. Grim was a local justice of the peace, school board director, Pennsylvania State Senator from 1902 to 1905, and owner of the Doylestown Democrat newspaper.

Upon purchase of the old inn, Grim began making improvements. Over the next few years a veranda was built along the entire length of the Broad Street side, a portico was added to the Main Street side, windows were enlarged, and interior alterations were made.

In 1895 Winfield Chambers opened a “cozy store” in Webster Grim’s storeroom with all new counters, shelves and fixtures (stock included coffee, tea, spices and canned goods); and he later opened an “Oyster Cave” there.

In 1910, 100 years after its planting, the evergreen tree, symbol of the old inn, was taken down. Grim and his family remained in the house, the longest residents to that point, until 1946 when Joseph and Phyllis Kenny bought the house.

Joseph R. Kenny was a well-admired Doylestown businessman since opening his News Agency at 17 W. State St. in 1943. He was active in the affairs of the town and influential in encouraging merchants to architecturally improve their store fronts, as part of the successful “Operation ‘64” downtown revitalization. Kenny converted the Main Street side of his new dwelling (147 N. Main St.) into apartments while he and his family resided in the Broad Street side (123 N. Broad St.). One of Kenny’s tenants was the well-known reporter at The Intelligencer, Lester Trauch, who lived there from the 1970s to the late 1990s.

Both Joe and Phyllis Kenny died in 1988; and their daughter, Barbara, passed away in 2003. Today the old Green Tree Inn houses businesses on the ground floor with rental apartments above.

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