- By Terry
- | October 3, 2019
It started back in the days when the Conestoga wagoners pulled up their teams in front of a tavern sign that showed a man with a bird perched in his hand – and it continues today.
How did Bird-in-Hand get its name? Legend credits the Village of Bird-in-Hand’s name to two men surveying the Colonial highway between the port of Philadelphia and Lancaster. At dusk in 1734, they found themselves at an inn by a Conestoga wagon stop. “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush,” suggested one surveyor, so they agreed to stay there for the night. A crude log hut built by William McNabb, the inn became known as “The Bird-in-Hand,” and the village had a name. The Bird-in-Hand Village Inn & Suites stands on the site of the original tavern. Our logo is a nod to that painted sign, which made them easy to find for weary travelers of all nationalities.
The Smucker family has hosted and fed travelers in this part of Lancaster County for many generations. The Bird-in-Hand Family Inn is located on part of the Smucker family homestead, which has been in the family since 1911. Today, John Smucker oversees the operations of the Bird-in-Hand family of companies. Our roots in the community run deep, and we would be honored to have you as our Guest and share our village with you.
In 2018, the Bird-in-Hand Family of Properties celebrated its 50th Anniversary! For more information, click here.
Early Quaker Settlement
James Smith is the first recorded Quaker to settle in what was then known as Conestoga County, in the area we now call Bird-in-Hand.
Now Room at the Inn
William McNabb builds the first permanent inn in the area, replacing the crude log hut that serviced the men building the road to Philadelphia.
What’s Inn a Name?
As the story goes, two men travelling to Philadelphia at dusk debated whether to push on or stop for the night. One of the men said, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” and they opted for the guaranteed shelter of the inn. McNabb liked the saying so much, he had a sign made of a bird resting in a hand and hung it on the front of the inn.
Foremost Underground Railroad Station Built
Daniel Gibbons, who grew up assisting his father in the Underground Railroad, builds a brick house near Mill Creek on the west end of town. The house would serve as the foremost Underground Railroad station in this part of Pennsylvania, assisting over 1,000 slaves to freedom.
Noted Songwriter and Millersville University President Born
Eliphalet Oram Lyte is born in the building now called Desmond House. He became one of the first Presidents of Millersville University (then known as the Pennsylvania Teachers College) and composed many children’s songs, including “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” and “Jolly Old St. Nicholas”.
Bird-in-Hand Hotel Rebuilt After Fire
After fire destroyed the original inn, owner Benjamin Groff built a two-and-a-half story brick building on the same foundations. The building still exists today, known ad Bird-in-Hand Village Inn & Suites 1734 Inn.
March 31, 1911
Smucker Family Buys Homestead
The Smucker Family buys the homestead along Route 340 in Bird-in-Hand. This sits on the eastern section of the original McNabb tract from 1715.
April 4, 1968 – June 20, 1970
Motor Lodge and Restaurant Open
The Bird-in-Hand Motor Lodge opens with 30 rooms, and two years later, the Restaurant opens with 145 seats.
Innkeeping in Intercourse
Family purchases Travelers Rest Motel in Intercourse, PA.
First Company Computer!
The first company computer is put into service at the Family Inn.
Bakery Gets a New Home
The Bird-in-Hand Bakery opens in a new building in the Village.
Historic Hotel Makeover
Village Inn opens with 11 rooms at historic Bitzer Hotel.
January 15, 1991
Family purchases Amish Country Motel on Old Philadelphia Pike.
On the Internet
We launch our first website. https://bird-in-hand.com
Family purchases Country Acres Campground along Route 30.
Village Inn Doubles in Size
With the addition of three more buildings, Village Inn becomes Village Inn & Suites with 24 unique rooms.
February 17, 2005
Grand Smorgasbord Opens
Traditional Lancaster County recipes perfected by our family over three generations.
June 27, 2008
Time to Bid!
Lancaster County Carriage & Antique Auction comes to Bird-in-Hand.
November 6, 2010
Crossing the Finish Line
Bird-in-Hand hosts first half marathon.
March 29, 2011
Company Founder Passes
Company founder Paul Smucker dies at age 84.
March 31, 2011
100 Years and Counting
Smucker Family celebrates 100 years on the Homestead in Bird-in-Hand.
September 14, 2011
All Our World’s a Stage
Bird-in-Hand Stage debuts with the musical “The Confession”.
June, 2014 – October, 2014
Savory Treats Join the Sweet
Bird-in-Hand Bakery expands and adds a cafe.
Camping in Style
Country Acres Campground adds 19 sites for RV’s and pull-behind travel trailers.
July 3, 2015
Stylish Upgrades for Family Inn
Nine reconstructed Village rooms open at the east end of the Family Inn.
Fall 2017 – Spring 2018
Extra Amenities at the Campground
A new bathhouse is added for the big rig loop, adjacent to the pool.
April 4, 2018
Another Milestone reached
The Bird-in-Hand Family of Properties begins celebrating 50 years of Smucker hospitality. The festivities include a community hymn sing and ice cream social, a display of historical memorabilia from the company’s history, a 50-year photos contest and the publishing of a book documenting the history and traditions of the Smucker family.