Originally erected in the 1790’s by Henry Hembold(t), the building was intended to be a tavern, but his initial petition was denied.John Rawlins, the next store owner, was captain of the volunteer rifle company in the War of 1812. Mr. Rawlins lost his tavern license in 1818 because of frequent late night disturbances by local mill workers. His departure was also hastened by some locals who were disgruntled after he testified against them erecting a pole, in defiance of the Alien and Sedition Acts back in 1806.By 1880, the quiet Philadelphia suburb of Gladwyne changed the building’s name to the Merion Square Hotel, a calmer alternative to its previous nickname “The War Office”.When prohibition arrived, the building served many purposes including a post office, confectionery, soda fountain, ice cream parlor, meeting hall and even dog kennels.After being lived in by the families of Mr. Haleh and then Mr. Rossi, Mr. Abe Swartz returned The Old Guard House to it’s destined future as a tavern.
In 1949 it was sold to Mr. Frank Callahan who started and established the restaurant here for the next thirty years.The present owner, Albert Breuers, took over on May 7, 1979, adding his German-Continental influence to the already popular American cuisine.The name “The Old Guard House Inn” was possibly derived from the period of weekly training and recruiting sessions by the volunteer rifle company or perhaps, because in its early existence, a part of it was used as a type of brig to cool off extreme revelers in lieu of the more traditional village stocks.
George Washington did NOT sleep here, but was reputed to have led colonial troops through the village for refreshments at the old water pump.