In 1815, Thomas Sweeney built Herr Tavern and Public House. During Sweeney’s ownership, the famous bandit, Davey Lewis, became associated with the Tavern. Lewis was a bandit and counterfeiter of the time. It is speculated that he used the Tavern as the base of operations for counterfeiting money. Sweeney would lose Herr Tavern to the bankruptcy court in 1827.
Frederick Herr made the tavern an area fixture. The ridge upon which the tavern sits also bears the family name. During the family’s residency, rumors began to surface that Freddie Herr was also counterfeiting money from the basement of the establishment. They claim that Freddie laundered the money by passing it to travelers heading westward. In the years prior to the Civil War, Freddie Herr became part of the Underground Railroad.
The battle of Gettysburg would begin at Marsh creek near Herr Ridge. This was Ground Zero for the Battle of Gettysburg and Freddie Herr and his tavern were right in the middle of it. Wounded soldiers were dragged into the building to be dealt with. The tavern would become a field hospital. The Herr family watched as their home and business was destroyed. Their beds were covered in bloody bodies. The tables where they had served food became operating tables and the convalescent men took over nearly every space.
Through the years the building became many things, a tavern, a home, and at one point it was a dairy. After the dairy closed it sat empty for some time.
Today the tavern and inn are owned by Steve Wolf who has taken the old dairy and turned it into one of the finest restaurants, taverns and inns in the area. Through the years, though, the owner and staff have come to accept that Herr Tavern is also very haunted.
Years ago the owner encountered a ghost while closing up late one night. On that long ago night the owner was counting the till while he and a friend were enjoying a beer after closing down. Suddenly the locked door swung open and they heard the sound of booted feet walking heavily toward them. The footsteps paused at the bar and a disembodied voice said, “Can I order a beer?” Both men froze. Neither knew what to do. The voice said again, “Can I order a beer?” When neither man moved, the footsteps turned and left the room. Was it Freddie Herr ordering a brew or some long ago soldier who was tempted by the smells and tastes he had not enjoyed for so long.
Staffers in the oldest part of the building talk about the many things they have seen through the years. They have found forks driven into the floor boards of the oldest dining room in the building. On occasion they will also find forks driven into the old wooden tables. Some of the staff insist that this is not a prank because it has happened while no one else was in the room—no one living anyhow.
Others talk of seeing a large man standing at the end of the bar. He is very lifelike, but when staffers hurry toward him to take his order he vanishes. One female server quit after a door slammed in her face. Others have reported seeing an amputated leg appear and walk into a wall, and in the basement trap doors open and close as if someone is still using them.
The kitchen staff talk about how active that area is, too. One chef declared that he heard a crash as if a whole tray of dishes had tipped over. He inspected the area but found nothing amiss. Since then he has heard dishes, pots and pans slamming around, but he never caught anything or anyone making the sound.
Office staffers also have their tales to tell. The credit card machine will go crazy and just begin rolling out paper. Lights flicker and some people report feeling that they are watched.
Freddy Herr was a married man and his wife, Suzanne, is believed to be haunting the second floor of the building. In fact, people have reported seeing a woman holding a baby and looking out the old master bedroom window. This same woman has been seen carrying the child up to the attic and down the main stairs.
Those who stay at the inn have their own experiences to tell. Guests claim that locked doors fly open or open doors will lock themselves. Doorknobs jiggle as if someone is checking to make sure that everyone is locked in safely for the night. Guests have also reported hearing heavy boot steps going down the hallway. If they dare to look, they find that the boot steps go right by them but no earthly source can be seen.
Rooms 1, 2, 3, and 4 are the center of the activity. Objects move, televisions turn on and off at will, and people feel that they are not alone in their rooms.
The entire area should be active since it is where the Battle of Gettysburg actually began. Those who had the first skirmishes there had no idea that they were going to create history. They only knew that they were fighting for their lives.
Excerpt from: Gettysburg Ghost Guide--The Unofficial Guide to the places to eat, sleep and play in Gettysburg (Kindle book to be released July 1)