Life in the Upper South...
Gray's Inn, also known as Stagecoach Inn, sits near the junction of Highways 181, 79 and 41 just west of Guthrie, Kentucky.
This area is known as "Tiny Town", because of the cluster of gas stations and other businesses around the intersection, I suppose. It's located on the Kentucky - Tennessee state line, and Tennesseans come there to buy Kentucky lottery tickets. (This was true particularly before Tennessee recently started its own state lottery.)
I have learned everything I know about Gray's Inn from the historic marker on the property and from the internet.
The historic marker notes that Gray's Inn was built in 1833 as a stagecoach stop by Major John P. Gray, the man who founded Elkton. The National Park Service adds that the inn served several stage lines. I think it's likely (I am guessing) that stagecoaches from Nashville, Bowling Green, Elkton and Hopkinsville met here.
According to various internet sources, the inn was one of the stops along the Trail of Tears, when the last of the Cherokee Indian lands were seized and the Cherokees were forcibly removed to Oklahoma. We can be sure that if anyone from the group stayed in Gray's Inn, it was the military escorts. The Cherokees would have camped nearby.
It is said that White Path, a Cherokee chief who was near death, drank from the well and blessed its sweet water. He named the well "Utok Amawah" which means "well of sweet water". A few days later at Hopkinsville, KY, White Path died. His grave is located on a small knoll above Little River, across from Belmont Hill, on the site of the Trail of Tears Park in Hopkinsville.
The National Park Service notes that the inn was used as a Civil War hospital, according to local oral tradition. It also provides the following cryptic note: "Possibly birthplace of African blackface minstrel." That statement seems to suggest that early minstrel shows were performed there, and that possibly, this was the first place that they were ever performed.
At any rate, it's a handsome old house and a long and interesting history and tradition is associated with it. It's a reminder that Tiny Town has been a busy crossroads for a long time.