Sunday, November 26, 2000

Golden Lamb is a treasure

Institution has played host to many famed guests

By Randy McNutt
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LEBANON — The Golden Lamb's future is its past.

        The 19th-century inn, which lists among its guests U.S. presidents and luminaries such as Mark Twain and Daniel Webster, remains open for meals and lodging.

        “Actually, we've had 11 presidents visit, if you count President Reagan, who came here in 1968,” assistant manager Fred Compton said. “But we have specific criteria for getting your name listed here: You must have been a guest, prominent in your field — and dead.”

[photo] Paul Reseter, general manager of the Golden Lamb, stands at the establishment's front desk.
(Dick Swaim photo)
| ZOOM |
        The Golden Lamb, which opened in 1803, is so historic, its life filled with drama and important people, that it's difficult to believe the inn is in Lebanon. It seems more suited to New England.

        But once Warren County had many such inns on the old Accommodation Line, a stage route that ran along parts of what's now U.S. 42 and Ohio 68. In the 1820s and 1830s, the Accommodation Line operated in Butler, Clark, Hamilton, Greene and Warren counties. The rise of the railroads in the 1840s diminished the stage lines and the inns that served them.

        Today, in Lebanon, only the Golden Lamb remains.

        Through the years, the site and name of the inn evolved, but eventually it grew at the corner of Broadway and Main Street (Ohio 63). Robert Jones, who bought the inn in the 1920s, changed the name from the Lebanon House to the Golden Lamb.

        In 1842, Charles Dickens stopped in Lebanon for a meal as he journeyed north from Cincinnati. He arrived by coach after midnight April 21, but the innkeeper wouldn't serve liquor. The famous author left in disgust.

        Though Mr. Dickens didn't mention the Golden Lamb by name in his subsequent book, American Studies, he no doubt referred to it.

        “Dickens wrote about muddy log cabins,” said Dennis Dalton, a county historian of Lebanon. “He was taken to the local tavern, where the only refreshment was a jug of cold water.”

        Despite his reaction, the Golden Lamb has named a room in his honor.


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