Zelienople, a picturesque
community of 3,000 and with a trading population of
approximately 7,000 people, was named in honor of
Zelie, the beautiful daughter of Baron Frederick
William Dettmar Basse, who founded the town in 1803.
Dr. Basse, Municipal Councilor of
Frankfort-on-the-Main, Germany; Ambassador of the
Court of the Emperor Napoleon, and gentlemen of
adventure, came to the United States in 1801, and
purchased from the Philadelphia Land Company ten
thousand acres of land in Northwestern Pennsylvania.
A portion of this land contained the site on which
Zelienople was later founded, and was at that time
known as "The Creek Meadows".
Dr. Basse returned to Europe in 1806 and learned
that his eldest daughter, Zelie had become engaged
to Phillippe Louis Passavant, son of an ancient
noble Huguenot family. Their marriage occurred June
10, 1807, and the couple accompanied the bride's
father to America.
As early as 1837-three years
before Zelienople was incorporated as a
borough-three inns or taverns were already
established. Among these was "The Cross Keys".
It was constructed by John Randolph on the site of
the present Kaufman House where you are a guest
today. Its painted signboard bore the ancient
papal insignia of The Cross and Keys, a popular
tavern-board device of those early days.
From the earliest days in the history of the
borough, Zelienople has been famed for its
accommodations for travelers and almost from the
beginning, the present site of the Kaufman House
has been utilized by a succession of taverns, inns
and hotels. The first on this location was the
tavern and post office built by the Scotch-Irish
Troy, Andrew McLure sometime before the year 1810.