By Colonel A. Kaintuck
Hostelries, hotels, inns, and taverns, like the Constitution, "follow the flag," and so these institutions established themselves in the wilderness and on the frontiers in the days of the cow path and the blazed trail in Kentucky forests.
Among those who were listed as keeping taverns in Henderson from the year 1784 to 1832 were Mrs. HANNAH DUNN, SAMUEL BRADLEY, MICHAEL A. SPRINKLE, HUGH McGARY, JOSEPH FUQUAY, JAMES B. BRENT, EPHRAIM SELLARS, PETER GREEN, JONATHAN BRADSHAW, JOSEPH COWAN, WILLIAM ANTHONY, THOMAS ANDERSON, JOSHUA MULLIN, JAMES GOBIN, and GABRIEL HOLMES.
Taverns in those days were not only places of drink but places of lodging and eating as well.
The tavern of SAMUEL BRADLEY was the location of the fir "Court of Quarter Sessions" ever held in Henderson County.
Later on, the tavern rates were fixed by law as follows: Dinner, supper, and breakfast, each 25 cents; lodging, 12 ½ cents; horse, per night, 50 cents; horse, per feed, 12 ½ cents; foreign spirits, ½ pint, 6 ¼ cents, all to be paid in specie. Thus, it will be seen that it cost more for the lodging of the horse than it did for the man.
The first hotel of any pretensions was the "SPIEDEL House." This was thrown open to the traveling public in 1827. It was originally two stories in height. One room was used for a dining room and there was a public hall as well. It was of brick construction, but a frame ell was soon erected, also. NIMROD GRISBY, a contractring carpenter then living in Henderson, built the frame addition. He was a most expert manipulator of the whip-saw. Aside from the hewed timbers, he sawed the studding, the weather-boarding, and the flooring by hand.
In the year of 1834, JOHN SPIEDEL, proprietor of the SPIEDEL House, died and his tavern or hotel was sold to CORNELIUS FELLOWS for the sum of $5,131. In March of 1846, the building was sold to MARTIN E. HANCOCK for $8,000 cash.
About the year of 1887 or 1888, the town of Henderson had eight hotels and fifteen boarding houses. Those leading the list included the BARRETT House, the WILLIAMS House, CLEGG'S Commercial and DUNCANS.
The BARRETT House was built on the site of the HANCOCK House. Afterwards, this establishment became known as the HORD House and was operated at various times by FRANK P. HORD, AAARON BELOW, JENKS W. WILLIAMS, R. E. COOK, and others. The BARRETT House was operated for a considerable period by SUGG and CANNON and later on by Captain LLOYD W. WHITLOW. About 1896 the BARRETT House burned with all its contents and the NICHOLSON building was erected on its site. Later this became the Farm Bureau building which has been razed.
Prior to its burning, CHARLES F. KLEIDERER built and operated the Hotel Henderson. It was rebuilt and called the Hotel Kingdon. KLEIDERER sold the property and in time it passed through several hands.
In the 1920s, $285,000 was subscribed for the construction of an up-to-date and more modern hotel at the corner of Second and Main Streets. It was called the RICHARD HENDERSON SOAPER Hotel.
Though there were many more hotel establishments which could be mentioned, we offer these comments on the more historic ones.
Reprinted with permission
Contributed by Netta Mullin, HCH&GS
Copyright 2002 HCH&GS