nnville is located on the north bank of the Quittapahilla Creek. Before a bridge was built over the creek on South White Oak Street, the Quittapahilla was passable by foot, horse or cart most of the year. The area was originally settled by Scotch-Irish squatters in the 1720s as a marketing center for the rich farm land which surrounds it.
It was not until 1763-64 that the town of Annville was formally laid out. Its development proceeded in a linear fashion east along Queen and Main Streets, with a basic lot size measuring 66 x 200 feet. Why 66 feet? This was the length of "Gunter's chain," a measuring device invented in 1620 by English mathematician Edmund Gunter.
Building specifications were established with the building line established so that 8 feet were allotted for sidewalks. Homes were built with no front yards so that the optimum size back yard could be used for gardens. Alleys ran behind the lots allowing for access to barns and carriage sheds. Early houses were generally constructed of log. In 1789 Captain Alexander Graydon tabulated the number of houses in the villages of the county. At that time Annville had 35 houses.
Several hotels were constructed along Main Street to service travelers along the local portion of the old Allegheny Indian Trail, a footpath that extended from Allegheny Street in Philadelphia to Harris Ferry (which later became Harrisburg) and westward across the mountains. It is rumored that George Washington traveled along this path in the late 18th century, and may have stopped at a tavern here in Annville (see 414 East Main Street).
In 1817, the Berks-Dauphin Turnpike was built as a toll road through the town. Toll houses were established just west of the land currently occupied by Hoss’s Restaurant at 1235 East Main Street.
In 1840, Annville had 600 people, 120 houses (only 3 of which were brick), 5 stores, 5 taverns, 4 churches, 3 schools and 1 academy. The mid-19th century saw the development of large limestone quarries west and north of town. The coming of the railroad 1860 led to the building of factories in the north of town for the manufacture of shirts, handkerchiefs and shoes. These new industrialists would build their Victorian mansions in this place, adding to the historic beauty of the East End, the details of which we invite you now to explore….