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8Dec

Elmwood Inn, built in 1842 still a world-class home and business

Elmwood Inn of historic Perryville, Kentucky is nationally known because its signature facade is featured on thousands of tins of tea and recipe books that ship every day under the banner of Elmwood Inn Fine Teas company. Built in 1842 by local merchant John Burton, the Greek Revival mansion was used as a make-shift hospital during the 1862 Battle of Perryville in the American Civil War. The handsome building served as boarding school from 1896 until 1924 under the care of headmaster Thomas Poynter.

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 served as a regional restaurant until 1989. Noted guests during that time included Ronald Reagan andKFC founder Colonel Harland Sanders. The inn was transformed into one of America’s best-known tea houses in 1990 under the ownership of Bruce and Shelley Richardson. In 2002, Elmwood Inn was named by the UK Tea Council as the first American tea room to be included in their prestigious publication “Best Tea Places.”

Elmwood Inn Fine Teas began importing, blending and packaging specialty teas in 1993 and now supplies teas to tea rooms, restaurants and gift shops in every state. Elmwood Inn’s publishing division, Benjamin Press, is the publisher of over 17 books, mainly on the subject of tea.

The Richardsons ceased the tea room and retail operations in 2004. Elmwood Inn is now home to the offices of the Elmwood Inn Fine Teas and Benjamin Press.

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