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The Espy House

The traditional 'oldest house' still standing in Bedford County is the Espy House in Bedford Borough. The connotation of traditional is added because evidence of an older structure might have been recently revealed.

The Espy House is believed to have been constructed circa 1771 by Thomas Smith. There is no exact proof that that date is accurate, but the fact that as soon as the county was erected in March 1771 prothonotary Arthur St. Clair started using the basement room as his office, suggests that it was built either 1770 or 1771.

In 1795, the sale of the property and house to David Espy by Thomas and Letitia Smith was finalized. That sale had begun in 1789. Espy purchased the property on an article of agreement to pay a certain amount each year. He would have been in possession of the stone house in 1794 when President Washington arrived in Bedford to quell the Whiskey Rebellion, despite the fact that he still owed a year's payment on it.

Because of the fact that David Espy was in possession of the property when Washington came to town, the building in which he stayed two nights was known as the Espy House, and regardless of the owner, the house has been known by that name ever since.

The photo above shows the stone structure circa early-1900s. It was included in the book prepared for the Old Home Week in 1907. Notice the position of the two identical entrances. The draped material over the door on the right side and the central window was patriotic bunting hung either for July 4th celebrations of for the Old Home Week celebration.

Notice the two photos directly below. The first one was taken in the 1950s. The second one was taken in the 2010s. Notice that the earlier photo shows two doors on the facade. The door which was located close to the east side of the building has since been removed in favor of a storefront window.