Historic Sanford Duncan Inn to open for guided tours

Photo by Mohamed Dashti

The interior of the Sandford Duncan Inn has been furnished with replicas of common items from the first decades of Simpson County’s history.

One of Simpson County's oldest buildings will open its doors to the public on a regular schedule in 2019.

The Sandford Duncan Inn, located at 5083 Nashville Road (US 31W South), was built around 1819 and operated for many years as a stagecoach inn and tavern on what was then known as the Louisville to Nashville Pike. During 2019, the restored and furnished historic structure will be open for guided tours on Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. each day.

Employees of the Simpson County Tourism Commission will conduct the 30-minute tours. A tour is free of charge for now, but donations for upkeep will be accepted.

During its first decade, the Sandford Duncan Inn was adjacent to a famous dueling ground known by an Indian name "Linkumpinch." In the 1820s dueling was still legal in Kentucky, but it had been outlawed in Tennessee. Because the dueling ground was situated right at the state line, a number of noteworthy Tennessee gentlemen journeyed to the site to settle disputes honorably -- by facing one another and discharging deadly weapons.

Duels were usually fought at sunrise. The combatants often spent the night before the fight drinking rum at Sandford Duncan's tavern. Each present-day tour of the Inn will include some stories about famous duels.

In 2004, a federal grant for preservation was used to restore the now county-owned Sandford Duncan Inn to the way it looked in pioneer days. A modern service building with restrooms was erected in 2008.

The Inn was previously open for tours only by appointment. Simpson County Tourism Director Dan Ware said he made the decision to open the property on a set schedule because not only is 2019 the 200th anniversary of the building's construction, it also is the bicentennial of the creation of Simpson County by the state legislature.

"We chose to open on Saturdays and Sundays because that's the weekend," Ware said. "We added Mondays because some businesses in the downtown historic district are closed on that day. We needed more for tourists to do if they choose to visit us on a Monday."

To get more information about the tours, call the local tourism office at 270-586-3040 or visit its welcome center in a log cabin at 81 Steele Road, near the I-65 Exit 2 interchange.

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