Monday, December 1, 2008
The Elmwood Inn was built in 1842 as the home of John Burton. It served as a field hospital during the 1862 Battle of Perryville, Kentucky's largest Civil War battle. The Greek Revival home became Elmwood Academy in 1896 and served as a prestigious boarding school until 1924.Guests of the Elmwood Inn have included Ronald Reagan, Colonel Harland Sanders, and Lynn Redgrave.
Elmwood was rescued by preservationists in 1974, placed on the National Register of Historic Places, and designated as a Kentucky landmark by Governor Wendell Ford.
It was christend Elmwood Inn in 1973 and became a regional restaurant. Shelley and Bruce Richardson purchased and restored the mansion in 1990. They began serving afternoon tea at Elmwood Inn in 1990 at a time when few Americans were drinking hot tea, and before the American tea renaissance began. People from across the country made their way to the historic village of Perryville, Kentucky as word spread through magazine stories and the three Elmwood Inn tea cookbooks. In 2000, the National Historic Landmark became the first North American tea room included in the British Tea Council’s Best Tea Places, a guide to a select 100 tea rooms throughout the world that “pass an exacting and incognito inspection by acknowledged tea tasters.” TeaTime magazine photographed their charter issue at Elmwood Inn in 2003.
After 14 years, the tea room closed to the public on July 31, 2004 to make way for the offices of the expanding tea importing business of Elmwood Inn Fine Teas. Benjamin Press, the publishing division of Elmwood Inn, is also housed in the historic building. All the Elmwood Inn tea books and magazine articles are photographed and edited there.