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In the heart of Kentucky’s cave country, Revolutionary War veteran, Colonel William Bell built a sprawling inn beside the highway. It grew into “the famous Bell’s Tavern,” as 19th-century Massachusetts Senator, Nathaniel Silsbee called it.
The inn became a hot spot for the shabby and the well-heeled alike. Built during the mid-19th century, the tavern was gutted by fire just prior to the Civil War. Though the family intended to rebuild it magnificently out of stone, the outbreak of war prevented them from completing the project. Today, massive stone walls and arched windows are overgrown with ivy, making for a picturesque and romantic ruin.
- The WPA Guide to Kentucky: The Bluegrass State