The historic tavern will move into the “Friends” groups

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Duncannon Borough Council approved the new agreements that will allow the Historical Society of Perry County to transfer Clarks Ferry Tavern to Friends of Clarks Ferry Tavern, Council President Michael May said.

The Council considered and voted on the two documents at its January 18 meeting. One document effectively brought the historic tavern back to the county and the other gives it to the Friends of Clarks Ferry Tavern. This group of parishioners and historians – originally formed by the historical society – will manage the ongoing restoration and reuse of the tavern. It aspires to its own nonprofit status to continue these goals.

The transfer idea was first brought to the attention of Duncannon Borough Council at its 21 December meeting.

“We have a few things to think about on our side before we can complete it,” said Jason Wilson, president of the history society.

The biggest problem is completing the friends’ non-profit status, so it will be a separate organization that will take care of the maintenance of the tavern. The transfer does not include currency exchange. The historical society does not make money by giving it to friends.

In recent months, the historical society said the tavern, which dates to the late 17th century, has taken a disproportionate amount of time compared to other properties it is having to work on. The Friends Group, as an independent historical organization, will be able to devote more time to the preservation and day-to-day management of the tavern when it opens for reuse as a visitor center, history repository, and meeting place. These plans will preserve the historical aspects but also make the inn and its courtyard a venue for events.

“We obviously want it to be preserved,” Wilson said, noting that the historical society will continue to be involved in some aspects.

In 2021, the tavern received historical and landmark designations that could help make it a destination for tourism.

Plans are underway to preserve and renovate the historic building. The Friends of Clarks Ferry Tavern will meet next at 7 p.m. on February 3 at the Duncannon Borough Building, 428 N. High St.

Jim T. Ryan can be reached by email at [email protected]

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