From the 1700’s to today, the Rocky Hill Inn has been a cornerstone and an integral part of the community of Rocky Hill, NJ. Rocky Hill is a very old village truly located on a stone ledge. Originally it was part of the lands belonging to the Unami, or "people down the river," a tribe of the Lenni Lenape Indians. In the early 1700’s, settlers established a mill and farming community that would form the basis of the village.
The first ‘tavern license’ for the RHI was given to the Harrison family in 1745 and by 1763 both the Rocky Hill Inn and the Nassau Inn (of Princeton) are shown on old maps. Washington visited and indeed stayed in Rocky Hill (Rockingham) during his campaign. It is reasonable to assume that he may have visited the RHI and the Harrison family at least once. The Inn remained in the Harrison family throughout the 18th century. Isaac Stout bought it in 1825. Stout enlarged the structure and it was well known along the route from New Brunswick to Princeton. Stout’s new, larger structure became “the center for community assembly and news exchange among the area residents”. Wesley Morris became the next Inn owner in 1860. He renamed it the Dey Hotel and in 1873 it became the Danley Hotel when I. E. Stryker purchased it. By 1880 the hotel was once again the Rocky Hill Inn and it’s gregariousness was reconfirmed William Gabriel added a third floor and it’s present Queen Anne style treatments that were popular during the Victorian period. The RHI looked then much the same as it appears today. The Rocky Hill Inn is included in the ‘historic district’ of Rocky Hill. The inn portion was closed down after World War II and since that time only the food and bar service have continued. Of interest, is the fact that the RHI was used as a filming location for parts of the 1994 movie IQ in which Walter Mattheu played Princeton resident, Albert Einstein.