King of Prussia, Pennsylvania

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King of Prussia is a census-designated place in Upper Merion Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, United States. As of the 2000 census, its population was 18,511. The community took its name in the 18th century from a local tavern named "The King of Prussia Inn", which was named after Frederick II, King of Prussia. Like the rest of Montgomery County, King of Prussia continues to experience rapid development. The largest shopping mall in the United States in terms of leasable retail space, the King of Prussia Mall, is located here. Also located here is the headquarters of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission Region I.



The eponymous inn was originally constructed as a cottage in 1719 by the Welsh Quakers William and Janet Rees, founders of nearby Reeseville. The cottage was converted to an inn 1769 and did a steady business in colonial times as it was approximately a day's travel by horse from Philadelphia. Settlers headed west to Ohio would sleep at the inn on their first night on the road. In 1774 the Rees family hired James Barry (or Jimmy Berry) to manage the inn, which henceforth became known as "Berry's Tavern". General George Washington first visited the tavern on Thanksgiving Day in 1777 while the Continental Army was encamped at Whitemarsh; a few weeks later Washington and the army bivouacked at nearby Valley Forge.[1]

Parker's spy map, created by a Tory sympathizer of the Kingdom of Great Britain, listed the inn as "Berry's" in 1777, but a local petition in 1786 identified it as the "King of Prussia". It was possibly renamed in honor of Benjamin Franklin's pro-American satirical essay "An Edict by the King of Prussia".[2] At some point a wooden signboard of the inn depicted King Frederick the Great of Prussia. The inn is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[3]

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