Our Inn’s History
Bourbon Manor has not always been an award-winning bed and breakfast inn. This historic property in Bardstown, KY has quite a colorful history dating back to the 18th century.
In the late 1770’s, early Kentucky pioneer settler Colonel Samuel Bealmer purchased 3,000 acres of what was then land surrounding the frontier of “Colonel James Roger’s (Fort) Station,” established in 1780. Colonel Bealmer’s oldest daughter, Ruth and her husband Joseph Brown were heirs to 950 acres. In 1810, Colonel Bealmer built Ruth and Joseph their first plantation home, presently known as Bourbon Manor’s Federal House. Thanks to their agricultural success with tobacco farming, and to their well-known swine operation, producing cured country hams, the couple was then able to build the stately Greek Revival Manor in 1830. The architect of the Manor was Joseph’s brother, James Marshall Brown, an apprentice under highly-regarded Baltimore Architect, John Rogers. John is credited for such fine structures as Federal Hill (My Old Kentucky Home), Wickland (Home of 3 Governors), and the Basilica of St. Joseph Proto-Cathedral – all architectural gems located in Bardstown.
Originally referred to as Bruntwood Manor, the large solid-brick house features a full basement with foundations made of large, native limestone blocks. Each wall is four rows of brick thick; each brick having been made on the property by the plantation’s slave labor. The outside walls are topped with a wide, flat wooden cornice of detailed dentil moldings. On top of the handsome building rests a rectangular cupola with large, square windows and a beautiful modillion cornice. The cupola was originally meant for use for security lookout, overseeing farm workers, and to watch the weather.
Inside, the building’s interior is divided into four 19′ x 19′ square rooms on the second and third levels. The entrance is punctuated by a gorgeous cantilevered spiral staircase which opens onto the second story before continuing to the attic.
The property has been home to many prominent families of Nelson County for over 200 years. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and designated a Kentucky Landmark having historical and architectural significance.
During the American Civil War years, it was occupied by Confederate General Braxton Bragg’s brigade of 16,000 which settled around Bardstown for 2-3weeks. The Manor served as headquarters for General William J. Hardee, who served under General Bragg. Shortly after the Confederates left, the home was then occupied by Union Troops as they headed through Bardstown toward Perryville. Both sides clashed in Perryville, which became the site of Kentucky’s bloodiest battle with 7500 wounded or lost lives.
Throughout the years, the Manor has been a private residence, a boarding home during the Great Depression, divided into apartment units, and operated as a Bed & Breakfast for more than 25 years. It has been featured in countless media articles in leading publications and awarded many accolades including Top B&B in Kentucky, Country Inn of the Month, and The New York Times named it as “a stylish place to stay while touring the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.” Several renovations have preserved the Manor, including its most recent $100,000 restoration by new owners/innkeepers Todd Allen and Tyler Horton. We invite you to visit and experience firsthand this special place known as Bourbon Manor.