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Compass Inn Museum

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1799; 1820; 1862; 1970s restoration and additions, Charles M. Stotz. U.S. 30 and California Ave., 0.5 miles northwest of Laurel Mountain

The Compass Inn, strategically located at the western base of Laurel Hill in Laughlintown, was a popular overnight stop on the historic Pennsylvania Road between Bedford and Pittsburgh. The evolution of the inn reflects the rise and fall of commerce along the road. The V-notched log portion (1799) is a typical roadside inn that used a common pre-1860 construction method. Hoping to attract affluent stagecoach travelers of the newly privatized turnpike, Robert and Rachel Armour purchased the property in 1814, built a stone wing in 1820, refined the simple existing interiors, and named it for an inn they knew in Chester County. By the 1860s, use of the road had declined, and the inn was converted to a house and store. A frame addition was constructed at the rear of the log portion for a second kitchen. In 1966, the Ligonier Valley Historical Society purchased the property, and in 1970 commissioned Pittsburgh architect Charles M. Stotz to restore the inn based on his knowledge and research of similar buildings in western Pennsylvania. Stotz made sympathetic additions to the rear for its planned conversion to a museum and supervised reconstruction of a log barn, blacksmith shop, and summer kitchen.

Laughlintown hosts a second roadside inn east of the Compass Inn. Built in 1827 of log covered with weatherboarding, the Yellow House or Naugle Inn retains its two-story drover's porch from which its patrons could watch their cattle in the barn (demolished) on the north side of U.S. 30.

Writing Credits

Lu Donnelly et al.


What's Nearby


Lu Donnelly et al., "Compass Inn Museum", [Laughlintown, Pennsylvania], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of PA vol 1

Buildings of Pennsylvania: Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania, Lu Donnelly, H. David Brumble IV, and Franklin Toker. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2010, 229-230.

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