The Town of Boiling Springs was officially founded in 1845, however the small village had much earlier beginnings. The Carlisle Iron Works, built in the 1750’s, took advantage of the thirty artesian springs that appear to “boil” from deep underground. These springs were dammed, creating Children’s Lake which powered the iron furnace. The main spring or “Bubble” is the seventh largest spring in Pennsylvania, producing 22 million gallons of water daily at a constant 53 degrees. A small settlement quickly began to grow around these early industries. The Boiling Springs Tavern, originally named The Boiling Springs Hotel, was built in 1832 by Philip Breckbill. It originated as a roadside inn and tavern. Children’s Lake became a popular destination when The Valley Traction Company opened a trolley park there in the early 1900s. After spending a summer afternoon renting paddle boats, dancing in the covered pavilion, or strolling down Lover’s Lane, people enjoyed a meal at the tavern and lodging for the night. Anheuser-Busch purchased the tavern under the direction of its founder, Adolphus Busch, and owned the building from 1902 until Prohibition. In the mid-1800s, as well as operating as a tavern and inn, The Boiling Springs Tavern was also part of the Kauffman Station on the Underground Railroad. Men, women and children escaping slavery, crossed the Mason-Dixon Line into Chambersburg and then followed the South Mountain towards Boiling Springs. Philip Breckbill was involved in the underground Railroad, so The Boiling Springs Tavern likely offered them shelter and protection before heading to Carlisle and points farther north.
Boiling Springs is located near the halfway point of the Appalachian Trail. The Appalachian Trail (AT) spans 2,200 miles from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin, Maine. Every year, thousands of hikers attempt the four to six month “thru-hike” on the AT from Georgia to Maine. Earl Shaffer of York, Pennsylvania, became the first individual to complete a thru-hike in 1948. Fifty years later, at a youthful 80 years old, Earl also became the oldest person to complete the same feat. The AT is also a popular destination for day and section hikers. The Tavern is nestled at the heart of Boiling Springs amongst artesian springs, Children’s lake and near a picturesque bend in the Yellow Breeches creek. As a world class fly-fishing stream, the Yellow Breeches draws fishing enthusiasts from around the globe. Rumor has it, that during the Revolutionary War, British soldiers washed their white pants – or britches – in the creek. Due to the sulfur content of these waters their pants turned yellow, and coined the now famous name of this iconic fishing destination – Yellow Breeches. The original building has been added onto in several stages through its history. A larger kitchen was created in 1863, and the dining room was expanded in the early 1950s. The latest addition was the dining room overlooking the spring, which was completed in the mid-1970s. The Boiling Springs Tavern has had many owners in its long history, each helping shape it into the destination that it has become.
The current owners, Terry and Kathi Rickert, have an exciting vision for the next chapter in this historic Tavern’s story.