The Simler House is estimated to have been built circa 1810 by Revolutionary War veteran John Henry Simler. The house features a typical tavern layout, with a kitchen and barroom downstairs, although there is no record of Simler having had a liquor license while he lived there. Accommodations for guests would have been on the second floor and attic.
Simler sold the home in 1824 to Hardman Philips, youngest brother of town founder Henry Philips. Throughout the years, the house served at various times as a boarding house, a bakery, and a private residence. By 2000, the house had fallen into sad disrepair and was on the verge of being torn down when local philanthropist and Simler descendent Barabara Bezilla purchased the home to save it. In 2001, the house was restored in memory of Donald Simler by his wife.
Ahead of the town’s 225th anniversary celebration in September 2022, Philipsburg Historical Foundation Curator Chris Watson spent several hundred hours researching and acquiring period furniture and accessories to make the Simler House a living history museum that gives people a better idea of what life was like when the Simlers lived there. Items of particular interest to modern visitors include a six-gallon bake kettle that would have served as the house’s oven; a bed warmer with perforations in a star-pattern that would have been filled with hot coals and used to heat up chilly beds before sleep; and a pipe box filled with clay pipes. The pioneers did not have the concept of germs that we do and would have shared the same pipes. Before the advent of box springs, feather or straw mattresses would have been supported by a grid of ropes strung around the bed frame, which can be seen on the beds. The Philipsburg Borough crew, under the direction of Borough Manager Joel Watson, built an authentic, two-hole log outhouse for the occasion out of salvaged trees and placed it on the Simler House property.