The Sandford Duncan Inn is among the oldest if not the oldest log structure in Simpson County. It is thought to have been built about 1818 in what was then Logan County. Simpson County was formed in 1819 from Logan, Allen, and Warren Counties.
One of the corners of the property bought in 1818 was located on the "Lexington to Nashville Road" (now 31W). It was down this road, a part of the Cumberland Trace, that the travelers came. To take care of these travelers along the way there were stops where the travelers could refresh themselves or spend the night. Sandford Duncan operated such a place in his home. The 1822 tax list showed Duncan had a tavern license.
The location of the property was significant with reference to the boundary line between Kentucky and Tennessee and to the practice of dueling . There were two famous duels held at Lincompinch, an ancient dueling ground within the disputed triangle between Kentucky and Tennessee. Prior to his duel with General William White, Tennessee's General Samuel Houston "polished off his training" at the Sandford Duncan Inn.. Also several sources tell that Sandford Duncan acted as the referee between the two men. Then in an 1827 duel between Calvin M. Smith and Robert M. Brank (who stayed at the Duncan Tavern), both attorneys appearing in Maury County, Tennessee court, one defending a man charged with stealing a hog and the other prosecuting attorney. Smith had accepted a challenge from Robert M. Brank to fight a duel, which he did in the State of Kentucky. Mr. Brank was slain by Smith and was buried, at his request, a few hundred feet from the L & N turnpike (31W) in an unmarked grave. As a result of this duel Smith was indicted for murder. Since dueling had been illegal in both states for many years these two events led to the end of dueling in Kentucky and Tennessee.
There is a new Interpretive Center located in back of the Sandford Duncan Inn, opened July, 2010. For a tour of the "inn" and grounds, contact the Simpson County Archives or Simpson County Tourism. The "inn" is now furnished with items that would have been used in the 1820s, 1830's and later years. Tours are offered most Saturdays 10 am-2 pm or for a week day tour, contact Simpson County Tourism at 270-586-3040 or come by the "log cabin" at I-65 exit 2. No admission fee.
From I-65 Exit 2 go south on 31W approximately 1 mile. The Sandford Duncan Inn and the newly opened Interpretive Center is on the right.