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History & Lore

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The Black Bass Hotel has quite the colorful past. It’s so steeped in historical lore that it can be hard to differentiate reality from myth! Although it’s difficult to discern which elements of the building’s history are true and which are legend, the rich tradition of fine dining and warm hospitality have always remained a certainty.

- Built in the 1740s, the Inn originally known as The Lumberville Hotel served as a haven for river travelers, traders, and sportsmen.

- It’s true… George Washington DID NOT sleep here. While he was Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army, he knocked on the door and was turned away. Why? The innkeeper, a “Tory,” was loyal to the British Crown.

- In 1831, a fire broke out and the Tavern was burned to the ground. Major Anthony Fry, the landlord at the time, broke open the cellar doors and removed a huge quantity of gunpowder that was being stored there. This stopped an inevitable explosion and saved The Bass from total destruction. We thought this feat worthy of naming one of our suites after him!

- The list of celebrities and famous people who have enjoyed The Bass is a long one, including several English Lords and Ladies, President Grover Cleveland, Liza Minelli, Ethel Merman, Marlon Brando, Carlos Santana, Christian Slater, Marc Blucas, Diane Sawyer, and Martina Navratilova (to name a few).

- The pewter bar in the Tavern is from the famous Maxim’s of Paris.

- The Bass is a proud member of the National Register of Historic Places, the official list of the Nation’s historic places worthy of preservation.

- We are proud to host one of the country's largest collections of vintage British memorabilia.

- The Black Bass was purchased at auction in 2008 by Jack Thompson, owner of several automotive dealerships in Bucks County. Having been longtime admirers and patrons, it was the Thompsons’ desire to restore the beauty and retain as much of the hotel’s history as possible. Click here to read more about the Thompson family.

- The Upside, featuring Bryan Cranston, Kevin Hart and Nicole Kidman, had several scenes filmed at The Black Bass in 2017. Inspired by a true story, The Upside was released in theaters in January 2019. Click here to view photos from filming.


Quite a few memorable spirits have appeared or otherwise made their presence known.

Hans is Haunting: In the early 1800s, a group of immigrant workers arrived in Solebury to build the canal. Hans, who owned The Black Bass at the time, got into a dispute with one of the workers and was ultimately stabbed to death. The barstool on which he was sitting is still in the Canal Tavern. Some have seen him standing in the corner of the Tavern. He is said to be a large, burly man lurking near the spot where he was murdered. The Canal Workers: The men who died while working on the canal – either from disease or exhaustion – were placed in a small makeshift morgue off of the Canal Tavern. Their bodies were stored there until a boat made its way down the Delaware to retrieve them. Over the years, this room has been known to have unexplained, rapid drops in temperature, while others have reported hearing strange sobbing sounds emanating from the area. The Woman in White: Another famous ghost is a woman dressed in white who has been seen both wandering the halls of the hotel and sitting in a guest room with a pearl-handled revolver in her lap. According to legend, she found her husband and his mistress in one of the guest rooms. Distraught, she killed them, then turned the gun on herself. Guests who have seen her report that her presence is precipitated by the smell of lavender. The Pet Cemetery: Although there are no paranormal events associated with the Pet Cemetery, this remains an endearing spot where Herbie Ward – a previous owner – designed a resting place for his beloved deceased pets. Located across the street at the back of the parking area, the Cemetery is surrounded by stone walls with a small iron gate, beautiful seasonal plantings and 12 headstones.