End of an era, Federal Grove closing

Owner-operator of Federal Grove Bed & Breakfast and restaurant released news this week, the popular eatery will be closing after 30 years of serving the community and those from far and wide.

“Thank you to our loyal friends and customers of Federal Grove. For almost 30 years we have been serving the best folks in the country our delicious food and have enjoyed the many friendships made over the years,” said Lee Blythe.

In an effort to simplify their lives and pursue other endeavors, Lee says his family has made the decision to close the restaurant and bed & breakfast. The last day of operation will be on Aug. 7, 2021.

Lee and his family will be renovating the Federal Grove building back into a residence and will once again call it their family home. Lee will be focusing on his real estate and farmland management business as he and his family open a new chapter of life.

“This is bittersweet as I know many will be disappointed by our closing and we’re thankful for your loyalty and patronage from the beginning. I thank God for the opportunities He’s given us and look forward to His blessings to come,” added Blythe.

Federal Grove History

In 1775, a federal land grant was given to General Jonathan Clark, eldest brother to William Clark of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The grant offered General Clark 10,000 acres on a military warrant to be taken west of the Green River in Kentucky. Federal Grove was part of the initial 1,700 acres General Clark grabbed. General Clark filed his paperwork in Logan County courthouse in 1785, before settling in Louisville.

In 1805, General Clark granted property to his daughter Elinor, who was married to a Methodist minister named Benjamin Temple. Together, Elinor and Benjamin established a farm/plantation called Federal Grove; so named due to the land coming from a federal grant. Later, they acquired an additional 300 acres and ran farming operations, which peaked in 1885. During its time, operating as a farm, reports say that there were 26 slaves working on the property.

Benjamin passed away in the mid-1850s. After her husband’s death, Elinor moved to Louisville to be with family. The property was sold to Captain Harrison Wood, former Kentucky state legislator, who built the house we call Federal Grove today. Captain Wood renamed the place Woodville and started a settlement. The settlement had a one-room schoolhouse, a blacksmith shop, a horse and mule trading post, and a general store. The nearby Shakers, who kept documentation of their trading activities, are to thank for our knowledge of the Woodville settlement. Captain Wood lobbied to have the L&N Depot put in across from his settlement. After his attempts failed, it was the end of Woodville.

Around 1863, Captain Wood abandoned Federal Grove/Woodville, and it was sold to James Monroe Hall. The Halls kept it in their family for one hundred and twenty years, 1871-1991.

In the fall of 1991, the Federal Grove house and the additional 13 acres were purchased by Wayne and Terry Blythe. The house was completely restored, literally brick by brick, in 1992. The restaurant and gift shop were added later.

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