The Old Stone House, constructed from local sandstone, offered weary travelers
a meal and a bed between 1822 ans 1885, but not much else. Black bears, bandits and horse thieves roamed the thickets
in those days -- and it wasn't much tamer inside. A sign in front of the tavern laid down the rules: "no more than five
to sleep in a bed," "no dogs allowed in the kitchen" and "organ grinders to sleep in the wash house."
Patrons slept in tiny beds cramped together like in an Army barracks, says Dr.
David Dixon, the Slippery Rock University history professor who runs the Old Stone House. They ate in a wood-planked
commons room, smoke-filled and reeking of stale liquor. When ready for bed, they climbed up stairs as steep as a lighthouse's.
"This was the boonies," Dixopn says, explaining that Nutler County did not attract
a permanent European settler until 1796 -- 20 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
"The Stone House was a mid-way stopover between Pittsburgh and erie," Dixon says.
"It was kind of an unsavory place, by our standards. Men chewed tobacco and spit on the floor. They didn't care
what you slept in. The only rule was that you had to take your boots off."
Innkeeper john K. Brown constructed the house in 1822 in an attempt to capitalize
on imcreasing commercial traffic between Pittsburgh and erie. the trip took about 36 hours, Dixon says.