(Evening Herald, Frackville Centennial Edition August 21, 1976)

If you want the utmost in elegant dining, visit the Ballietsville Inn! This Inn has been in continuous operation for 225 years; and its history is the history of Lehigh and Northampton Counties and the townships of North Whitehall, South Whitehall and Whitehall.

225 years and still in business

Jess Frack and Mildred Orf

Jess Frack and Mildred Orf, great grandchildren of Daniel and Mary Balliet Frack, founders of Frackville stand on steps of original Balliet home at Ballietsville. The home was originally red brick and is now painted white. The original wrought iron can be seen on the porch. The towering trees were brought over from, France by Col. Stephen Balliet. This picture was taken June 26, 1976. The Balliet home is open for tours conducted by the Historical Society of Lehigh County.

Paulus Balliet received his first known license on June 22, 1746, to "operate an inn on a frequently traveled road." The inn which opened on June 14, 1750, was built in the virgin forest as a sturdy log cabin which stood 90 years before the present brick structure replaced it.

Social life on the frontier was centered in the church, in the school and in the inn. The center of business was often at the inn.

First called the Whitehall Inn, the building also housed a post office; was a thriving trading post for the Indians and served for over 100 years as a station for the stagecoaches traveling between Philadelphia, Easton and Jim Thorpe.

Down through the years, as the inn passed from person to person, it has been enlarged, redecorated, restored -- somehow the inn has kept its twin qualities of hospitality and readiness for any action that may come.

One can imagine the jolly repartee of early colonists; the earnest and urgent conversations about revolution; the heavy tread of the Militiamen; the call of the stagecoach masters.

Today, the inn continues to give its guests a warm welcome, extend its hospitality and give a delicious repast "fit for the most discriminating gourmet."

Here is a list of Innkeepers of Ballietsville Inn from 1750 to 1975:

Paulus Balliet, Mario Wotring Balliet, Col. Stephen Balliet, Paul Balliet, Dr. Jesse Holman, John Schontz. Joel Gienz, Charles Leinberger, John Smith, David Klein, Edwin Deibert, Sylvester Meisenhermer, Elmer Hasher, John Roth, Clinton Frontz, Edward and Anna Poplaski, Joseph and Julia Poplaski.

The proprietors today are Joseph J. Hartman of Switzerland and Richard Wotring Gemmel.
 

BALLIET HOMESTEAD
Ballietsville, Pennsylvania

This is the lovely home of Mary Balliet who was married to Daniel Frack, founder of Frackville. Her ancestors built this house and the Ballietsville Inn in 1746. The house is in excellent condition with hand blown glass windows and highly polished wide floor boards. Historians say that a house with these two qualities showed signs of wealth. Most houses were built of lumber of all sizes but this house was built with the same size lumber throughout.

Ballietsville Frackville's 'cousin'

Mildred Orf, Joseph Maley and Lorraine Stanton

Mrs. Mildred Orf, great granddaughter of Daniel Frack, founder of Frackville, Joseph Maley and Lorraine Stanton stand in front of the white wrought iron grape fence in front of the Balliet home in Ballietsville, Pa. This fence is the original fence owned by Col. Stephen Balliet and still remains in excellent condition after 225 years. This picture was taken June 26, 1976, when we were given a tour of the Balliet home and Inn.

The great grandchildren of Mary Balliet Frack, Jesse Frack and Mrs. Mildred Orf were with me the day I visited this house. We entered the lobby to see a beautiful wooden staircase. A grandfather's clock was chiming on the right side of the room as we went into the living room. This is furnished with Victorian furniture and is very formal with velvet sofas and a thick Karastan rug. Most rooms have fireplaces which are still in working order. The dining room is small but cozy with a beautiful brass chandelier hanging from the ceiling. We crossed the patio into the summer kitchen. This was a small brick room with a fireplace where food was prepared and then taken into the house. It is now used as a den and in the winter months the fireplace is lighted and small information entertaining is done here.

Outside in the garden, apart from the house stands a white one-room schoolhouse. Col. Stephen Balliet had this built for his children who were taught by private tutors. In later years the children of the village were allowed to attend school here. Languages spoken at Ballietsville were French and German but Col. Balliet who was French wanted his children to learn English. This is the first school in the North Whitehall Township where English was taught. Mr. Joseph J. Hartman, formerly of Switzerland, was our guide up to this point. He and Mr. Richard Wotring Gemmel are proprietors of the Inn home.

Mr. Gemmel, who is a direct descendent of the Wotring-Balliet families was our guide for the rest of the tour. We visited the second floor of the home to see the bedrooms tastefully furnished in keeping with the architecture of the house. Each bedroom has its own fireplace with a small storage closet hidden behind it. A hand embroidered coverlet was on the bed with the year 1932 embroidered at the bottom. A picture of the Wotring family hangs above the bed. Mr. Gemmel showed me old deeds to the Inn dated 1852 and 1873.

The Lehigh County Bicentennial Committee has issued a limited edition of a bronze medallion commemorating our nation's Bicentennial. The emblem of Lehigh County is on one side and a picture of the Balliet home and Inn from 1746 is pictured on the other. Mr. Gemmel presented one of these bronze medallions to Mrs. Orf and myself. The North Whitehall Township has arranged a tour of historic sites in that area and the Balliet Home and Inn are on this tour.

The Historical Society of Allentown has a complete file on the Balliet family. A full length painting of Col. Stephen and Mrs. Balliet is on exhibit here. Col. Balliet was one of the men who was on the wagon who brought the Liberty Bell into Allentown from Philadelphia during the Revolutionary War. On July 7, 1776 he had the original copy of the Declaration of Independence which he took to Easton.

The population of Ballietsville is 120. The Balliet home is the oldest house built in this village and all the houses located here except two were built by the Balliet family. The Linden trees which now tower over the house were brought over from France by Col. Balliet. The original wrought iron grape fence still stands after 2152:01 PM 1/18/2006 years.

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