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Guest Opinion

Preserve the General Greene Inn in Buckingham


The General Greene Inn should be preserved. The advent of the automobile age, along with the General Greene Inn’s location in Buckingham, afforded it a unique role in helping usher in wide-ranging changes that shaped the cultural, social and physical landscape of Bucks County.

Already having a cherished spot in our national history, the building’s long 18th to 21st century history, especially as it relates to Bucks County, deserves renewed consideration. It is this history that provides an important bridge between Colonial times and the present century. Maintaining that bridge, preventing it from deteriorating further, or being sacrificed altogether in pursuit of temporary economic gain, is arguably a collective choice.

While our nonprofit cannot afford to buy the property, we do maintain a substantial archive on the General Greene Inn, the bulk of which relates to the Joos and Wehmeyer families and dates to around the first half of the 20th century.

Efforts to preserve the General Greene Inn have received renewed interest following Carl LaVO’s Feb. 23 article, which highlighted recent efforts led by Chris Valeri (“A ‘Herculean effort’ and mighty hopes for Buckingham’s historic General Greene Inn,”). A new Facebook group dedicated to preserving the General Greene Inn now claims hundreds of members.

While both developments are signs the issue is gaining needed momentum, existing preservation efforts would benefit from increased outreach to individuals and organizations that, like our organization, have opted not to maintain a presence on Facebook.

The preservation of key historical buildings helps ensure that current and future generations can maintain the ability to access unique immersive experiences that properly contextualize our shared history.

Just image a future generation trying to interpret the history of Fonthill Castle, Mercer Museum and the Tile Works without those structures existing. In short, much would be irretrievably lost and generations would be denied both the experience and the inspiration available to today’s visitors.

Bucks County residents and municipalities have invested millions of dollars in open space preservation. Indeed, the preservation of open space provides economic and environmental benefits that help to enrich the lives of those living, working and visiting our county. But open space preservation doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Nor does the interpretation of its history.

Decades ago, Bucks County artist Ranulph Bye designed a map of the county depicting the prominence of numerous historical structures, including Fonthill Castle, Mercer Museum and the General Greene Inn. A border, along with the depiction of four Mercer tiles, one in each corner, frame the county. The artwork is a masterstroke, showcasing the intersection of architecture, culture, development, history, nature and the landscape of Bucks County.

It serves as a reminder that what can at first glance seem disparate or unrelated is often interconnected and part of a larger picture.

Jonathan Neuber, of Hilltown, is the president of the Bucks County Cultural Society. Email him at

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