The Beaumont Inn
For 100 years, The Beaumont Inn in Harrodsburg has been a family-run home for Kentucky hospitality.
Visitors have been coming to the Inn since it was established in 1919, but the structure itself has an even longer history. In the mid- to late-1800s, it was home to Daughters College, a higher education institution for women.
“John Augustus Williams was an incredible educator and kind of ahead of his time,” says Helen Dedman, innkeeper at the Beaumont. “He realized that women needed to be educated…[Daughters College] wasn’t just a finishing school. It was a full-fledged college. People from all over the south would come.”
The college remained in operation until 1914. After its closure, Annie Bell Goddard purchased the building and began its new, long chapter as an inn.
“She didn’t want anything to happen to this big old building where she had gone to school,” says Helen. “I think she just couldn’t bear for it to be sold, so she bought it. She was the first generation [of innkeepers]. Now we’re on the fifth.”
The Beaumont is known for its food offerings, which have evolved over a century of operations. In the beginning, the inn had only two dinner options: country ham and fried chicken.
Today, the Beaumont Inn has gained notoriety beyond Kentucky after being recognized by the James Beard Society’s America’s Classic Award in 2015. Innkeeper Chuck Dedman sees the honor as recognition for the Beaumont’s many years in the business.
“What was so nice about that, had so much significance for us is that it was not just an award for us contemporary innkeepers,” says Chuck. “It’s a classic award that goes all the way back to Annie Bell and my grandmother and my parents.”
The Beaumont Inn’s hundred-year history is a testament to the quality of service and the continuing demand for an old-fashioned inn, even in the age of interstate travel and countless modern lodging options.
“It’s a step back in time, a little bit,” says Helen. “There’s a lot of hustle and bustle out there, and we try to give the folks that visit here a feeling of a need to relax. Sit out there on the swing. Sit out on the front porch. Just relax, and we’ll take care of you.”
This segment is part of Kentucky Life episode #2505, which originally aired on November 2, 2019. Watch the full episode.