The first Ship Inn was located a mile west of Downingtown and was operated by Thomas Park, a British loyalist. Just after the Battle of Brandywine, a number of patriot soldiers came by the inn for a drink, but Park refused to serve them. Angered, the soldiers fired thirteen shots in tthe sign board of the inn, cursing the inn as they left. Park’s business soon fell off and he was forced to close down his business. In 1796, John Bowen bought the signboard and hung it at his new tavern in Exton, the current location, where his wife Susie helped him to establish the new inn. The Bowens were popular hosts and their inn flourished. After her husband died, Susie Bowen remarried to Levi Evans, but he soon became ill and died, leaving Susie to handle the inn on her own.She did so quite successfully for more than forty years.
The Ship Inn today is no longer open. The property is now owned by VK BRewing and there are plans to reopen the establishment as a microbrewery.