Morlatton Village represents pieces of an early Swedish Settlement begun in the early 1700’s, when Berks County was still the frontier. Structures constructed slightly later in the 1760’s also comprise the village. During colonial times, area became a center of commerce for the region as a routing center for refined iron from Pennsylvania’s earliest furnaces and for grains from the Oley Valley heading down river to Philadelphia. Morlatton’s importance grew as roads leading to Tulpehocken, Oley, Reading, and Philadelphia all intersected at its footsteps. Morlatton Village can be viewed as where Berks County began and also its gateway.
Today, Morlatton Village consists of the following preserved, historically significant buildings and is also paralleled by the Thun Trail:
Mouns Jones House (1716)
Built by early Swedish settler Mouns Jones and his family, the house is the oldest documented dwelling in Berks County and considered to be the oldest extant structure ever built in the county. It is a two-and-a-half story sandstone structure containing two chimneys. The corner chimney is derived from Swedish architectural traditions. The home has endured several monumental floods and additional accidental fire damage, and by 1961 was in a complete state of disrepair. The Historic Preservation Trust of Berks County embarked on a three year restoration project beginning in 1965.
Bridge Keepers House (1730 or 1830)
The Bridge Keepers house is a one-and-a-half story sandstone structure with a single interior chimney. It is a one room building with a relatively large, open attic space. Vacant since 1957, the building was donated to the historic Preservation by the Trust. Since its donation, the Trust has diligently restored the building despite numerous flooding and other structural challenges. The Bridge Keepers House is adjacent to the Mouns Jones House on the banks of the Schuylkill River.
George Douglass Mansion (1763)
The George Douglass Mansion is two-and-a-half mansion that was one of the first full-blown Georgian structures in the region. The building is a central passage, double pile, Georgian-type structure with five bays. The exterior consists of fine cut sand-stone, a plaster cove cornice, and evidence of a pent roof. The interior of the building is currently under restoration. Douglassville, PA, home to Morlatton Village, is named after George Douglass.
White Horse Inn (Circa 1762)
The White Horse Inn is of Georgian Style and its principle façade constructed of dressed sandstone. Built circa 1727 by Marcus Huling and later enlarged by George Douglass the building served as a tavern during Colonial times. The White Horse was purchased by the Trust ion 1970 and has undergone significant restoration since. Today, the building is fully restored, including the addition of an adjoining kitchen. The Historic Preservation Trust of Berks County houses it office within the confines and the White Horse Inn is also available for private gatherings and event.
Secondary Morlatton Village Site Information
Douglassville Covered Bridge (1832-1952): The Douglassville bridge was one of twelve covered toll bridges found in Berks County. The bridge spanned the Schuylkill River and from the edge of Morlatton Village, parts of the original structure can be viewed submerged in the river. The resident of the Covered Bridge Keepers House was responsible for the upkeep, including snow shoveling during winters, of the bridge.
Dedicated in 2006, the Thun Trail provides a biking/hiking link to Historic Morlatton Village. The Thun Trail connects the Schuylkill River Heritage Area trail from Pottsville to Philadelphia. The trail was constructed on the rail bed of the former Pennsylvania Railroad (est. 1883).