Boone Tavern replaced lodging in college president's house

April 7, 2012 

Boone Tavern Hotel and Restaurant was the brainchild of a Berea College president's wife who was likely worn out from offering hospitality.

Nellie Frost, the wife of former Berea College President William G. Frost, suggested that the college open a guest house as a means of dealing with a burgeoning number of visitors.

Before 1909, when Boone Tavern opened, guests of the college stayed at the president's home. But as the college's reputation grew, the number of guests did too. About 300 guests came in just one summer, leading Nellie Frost to urge another arrangement, according to the tavern's Web site.

The result was Boone Tavern Hotel, which gets its name from Appalachian hero Daniel Boone. Although modern travelers associate the term "tavern" with alcohol, the historic definition refers to a public inn.

Construction, which began in 1907, cost $20,000 and was done by the college's Woodwork Department, with students in the college brickyard manufacturing the bricks.

With the advent of the automobile, the hotel and restaurant became a popular destination, according to the Web site. It sits in the heart of Berea, on College Square.

The tavern originally had 25 guest rooms, but that has grown to 63 over the years.

Berea College students make up 80 percent of the staff, the Web site says. Students at Berea pay no tuition but are required to work at least 10 hours a week at the tavern or one of the college's other 130 departments and work areas across campus, earning money for books, room and board.

The college's mission of providing an education for students, primarily from Appalachia, is supported by donors.

Lexington Herald-Leader is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service