Wednesday, March 5, 2014

KY's Benham Schoolhouse Inn

Looking for a really unique place to stay the night in Kentucky?  Bonus points if its haunted?  Look no further than the Benham Schoolhouse Inn, in Harlan County.

From Yelp user, Dave H.
Benham is a small community, once a coal camp town under the direction of the Wisconsin Steel Corporation (later International Harvester).  In 1926, Wisconsin Steel built a state of the art all-grades school for the children of the camp.  In 1961, the last high school class was graduated from the school, which continued to serve as the local elementary until 1992.  A year later, renovations were underway to turn the former school into a premier inn, encouraging tourism in the Kentucky coalfields.

Today, the Benham Schoolhouse Inn is under the direction of the Southeastern Kentucky Community and Technical College, which runs a Hospitality Management program, allowing students to work as interns at the inn.  Original hardwood floors, historic school photos, painted lockers, and other little touches remind those who stay overnight or visit for any number of special events and functions hosted by the inn, that the school spirit is still alive at the Benham Schoolhouse.  That might be true figuratively as well as literally...

The web is full of stories about the inn being haunted, and while the activity varies, almost all reported events involve the spirits of former students.  The sounds of children laughing, playing, and talking are heard at all hours throughout the former school.  Even the apparitions of children, dressed in the style of the 1920s, have been seen by the more sensitive visitors.  Other reported incidents involve an apparition of a man carrying a suitcase, lights that dim by themselves, and a shower that turned on and soaked a guest.  One theory presented as to why the school might be haunted came from a Harlan County local on a Topix post.  This contributor, who went to school at the Benham School, claims that the building was erected over a cemetery where not all the bodies were removed.  In fact, this contributor claims that an intact skeleton was unearthed and used in the school's anatomy classes to teach the skeletal system!

Benham Schoolhouse Inn Facebook Page


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