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About The Museum

Visit the Compass Inn to receive an informative and entertaining tour by costumed docents that tells the story of transportation and everyday life in the early 1800's. The tour delivers "history with a smile" by incorporating a generous sprinkling of etymology (word and phrase origins). For example you can learn why we drink in “bars” and “toast” people.

The restored Inn is completely furnished with period pieces. Visitors can tour seven rooms including the common room, serving kitchen, ladies parlor and four bedrooms. Staying in a hotel was very different in 1820 than it is today. You have to see it to appreciate it.

The 1-1/2 hour tour includes the original Inn, and three reconstructed outbuildings: a cookhouse, blacksmith shop and barn, all completely furnished with period pieces. (Click on pictures to view a larger image)

The Barn

The barn features an authentic stagecoach and a Conestoga wagon, complete with a six-horse hitch. Both vehicles were important to history in America, but in very different ways. Discover what it was like to travel in a stagecoach and learn the role it played in fostering communication across this large nation.

Most people have heard of Conestoga wagons, but few really understand their function. At Compass Inn, you will learn what the Conestoga was actually used for and dispel some of the myths surrounding it. Learn why Americans drive on the right side of the road when most of our other habits reflect English traditions.

The Blacksmith Shop

Having the services of a blacksmith available on site made Compass Inn a more attractive place to stay. If your wagon broke down or your horse threw a shoe, you brought it the blacksmith. He could fix it for you while you were enjoying the comforts of the Inn.

Compass Inn’s blacksmith shop is fully functional with a big two chambered bellows, working forge, two anvils and the myriads of tools the blacksmith used in his trade as well as some of the tools he could make and repair for the public.

Most people think of blacksmiths as men who shoe horses. Actually that specialty belonged to the “farrier” and full service blacksmiths often frowned on farrier work. However, Compass Inn catered to the traveling public, so our shop is fully equipped with farrier tools and a stock cradle for supporting the animals when they were being shoed.

The Cookhouse

The cookhouse is a reconstructed building, but old materials were used when available. For example the open hearth/beehive oven arrangement was transferred here from the Shaffer farm just a couple miles away and dates back to the 1700’s. It is still functional and is used during living history weekends and some school tours.

See some of the pots and utensils the women used to prepare meals over an open hearth and learn how they baked bread in the beehive oven. Discover why wealthy people are sometimes called the “upper crust”.