Historic Lancaster County site celebrates 300th anniversary this year

Lancaster

GAP, Pa. (WHTM) — White Chimneys is currently a residence and event venue in Gap, Lancaster County. Before that, it was a farm, a toll house stop, and a tavern. The site represents 300 years of local history, having been built in 1720, and it predates Lancaster County itself, which was formed in 1729.

White Chimneys was originally a stone cottage owned by the Jones family. In 1779, the property officially transferred to the Slaymaker family, who lived there for nine generations until 2000. It was a Slaymaker who gave the site its name when she commented on the home’s beautiful white chimneys.

In 2006, Jessica Meyer took over the property. When Meyer was a girl, her father worked at the Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum, and she joined him there often, developing a love for history. “When White Chimneys was on the market…we realized there was literally three centuries of history here, and I could own my own little mini Landis Valley,” Meyer said.

White Chimneys was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. Owning a historic building comes with unique challenges. Meyer says there are constant projects to be done to maintain the site.

On top of that, “We never know who is going to be standing outside our back door because it is a public feature,” Meyer said. People would come by and ask to take wedding pictures or hold their receptions at White Chimneys, or they would stop by because they wanted to visit the historic location.

Meyer decided to lean into the public interest, and now White Chimneys hosts weddings and other events for community members.

This Saturday, July 3, the venue is celebrating its 300th anniversary with a tricentennial gala open to the public. The event will include food, live music, speakers, reenactments, fireworks, and more, all honoring the three centuries through which White Chimneys has been around.

Of course, the astute mathematician may have noticed that the site’s true 300th anniversary would have been in 2020, not 2021. The event was originally scheduled for last summer, but it had to be rescheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“You know, this is not the first pandemic that White Chimneys has survived through,” Meyer said. “Last year…while there was much sadness, I really looked to White Chimneys’ history that we have hope, and there have been pandemics, and White Chimneys will stand, and it will survive.”

For more information about the tricentennial gala, visit White Chimneys’ website. To hold an event or photoshoot at White Chimneys, contact Jessica Meyer at weddings@whitechimneys.com or through this online contact form.

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