Thursday, May 19, 2016

HGB Episode 125 - Golden Lamb Inn

Moment in Oddity - Ruston Triangular Lodge
by: Bob Sherfield

Sir Thomas Tresham was a Roman Catholic during a period of English history when to hold such beliefs and refuse to convert to Protestantism was a crime. During the latter years of the 16th century, Tresham spent almost 15 years imprisoned for being a recusant as well being fined a figure of some £8000 (equivalent to £1.6 million today.) Upon his final release from imprisonment in 1593, Tresham decided he wanted to construct a building that would act as a protestation of his faith. And so Rushton Triangular Lodge was conceived. He didn’t build an extravagant stately home or romantic country manor house, but rather, internally at least, a plain and compact building, suitable for a gamekeeper or someone of similar social standing. Built to represent his belief in the Holy Trinity, the number 3 reoccurs time and again in the design and construction of the folly. Its 3 sides are each 33 feet long with 3 gargoyles mounted at roof level. Its has 3 floors, each with 3 triangular windows and triangular chimneys.  Running around the exterior of the building are 3 Latin inscriptions,
1.    (Isaiah 45:8) Aperiatur terra & germinet Salvatorem:[1] "Let the earth open and … bring forth salvation"
2.    (Romans 8:35) Quis separabit nos a charitate Christi?:[2] "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?"
3.    (a paraphrase of Habakkuk 3:2[3]) Consideravi opera tua, Domine, et expavi : "I have contemplated thy works, O Lord, and was afraid"
Above the entrance to the lodge is engraved the number 5555. Though the number seems to have no specific meaning, it has been noted that, if you subtract 1593, the year its construction began, you are left with 3962, the date, in BC, which according to the Venerable Bede, the Flood occurred. Numerous other religious carvings adorn the structure, including the seven eyes of God, a pelican in her piety and the Hand of God touching a globe. The chimney displays a lamb and cross, a chalice and the monogram IHS. On each floor the main room is hexagonal, leaving triangular shaped rooms in each corner. The rood of the building features three gables on each side, which are surmounted by three sided obelisks. While it wasn’t unusual for Elizabethans to incorporate “messages” in to their buildings, that a man, who had been fined and imprisoned for his beliefs, would go on to build such a public demonstration of them with such a bizarre structure, certainly is odd.

This Day in History - Anne Bolelyn Executed
by: April Rogers-Krick

On this day, May 19, in 1536, Anne Boleyn knelt upright on a scaffold in the Tower of London on the orders of her husband, King Henry VIII.  Looming over her was an expert swordsman, Jean Rombaud, who had been brought over from France for just this execution. A single stroke from Rombaud’s weapon sliced her head from her body. The date of Anne’s birth is unknown, but on the day of her beheading she was only in her late 20s or early 30s and had been Queen of England for three short years. Anne was just a teenager when King Henry VIII fell in love with her.  At the time he was married to Queen Catherine of Aragon and had been for 24 years.  Catherine had failed to produce a male heir.  Becoming increasingly frustrated with the lack of a male heir, Henry started looking for a different woman to mother a son.  In 1525, he began to pursue Anne, who was one of the Queen’s maids.  Unlike the numerous other girls, including her sister Mary, Anne refused Henry’s advances. At this time England was still Catholic and Henry had to ask Pope Clement VII to annul his marriage to Catherine.  The Pope refused. Making a long story short, Henry severed ties with the Roman church and declared himself Supreme Head of the Church of England.  Now he reigned oved England’s political and religious lives.  In 1533 he divorced Catherine. Henry and Anne finally married, after eight years of political and religious turmoil.  Anne quickly became pregnant but later that year when the baby was born a red-haired girl, Henry was devastated.  Anne’s intelligence, wit and political nous did not make things easier for her.  The public felt Catherine was the rightful Queen, and Anne was nothing but a whore who had bewitched the King.  Many miscarriages followed and this served as proof to the public that she might just be a witch or the Lord had cursed their union. The King’s advisors were no help.  They created an atmosphere of mistrust, whispered betrayals, religious superstition, and plotting.  Anne knew her downfall was inevitable she had no son to protect her and the King becoming increasingly desperate lost interest in her.  Wanting to be rid of Anne, outrageous charges of high treason, incest and adultery were made up.  What was to be a travesty of justice Anne was found guilty.  The only mercy Henry showed was to have her executed in the swift and humane sword-swinging French style rather than a drawn out and nasty burning of the stake. With no other way for a savvy, spirited woman to better herself other than marriage, Anne was a victim of the men who surrounded her.  She was used as a pawn by her father as he sought power of his own, used by the King to mother sons, and used as a scapegoat by the villainous self-serving court. Regardless of being executed by beheading Anne got the last laugh.  She became a hugely influential figure in English history. She rose from commoner to Queen in a man’s world.  She was the mother of what some consider the finest monarch England has ever had.  She was the reason for England’s break from Catholicism.

Golden Lamb Inn (Suggested by listener Stefanie Martin, Research Assistants Annette Student & Sharon Spungen)

The Golden Lamb Inn is the state of Ohio's oldest hotel. The hotel has been the gathering place for residents of Lebanon for over 200 years. Through the years, it has changed ownership and names and hosted a variety of presidents and famous people. But the one constant has been the symbol for which it is named: the Golden Lamb. The deep history of this inn includes a connection to war, stage coaches and much more, which has led to rumors of hauntings at the establishment. For some guests, more than just their signature's remain at the inn. Their spirits seem to have remained. Join us as we explore the history and hauntings of the Golden Lamb Inn.

Ichabod Corwin, Silas Hurin, Ephraim Hathaway, and Samuel Manning founded Lebanon, Ohio, in 1802. When they platted the town, made up of 100 lots, only two cabins had been built. Ichabod Corwin's cabin, built on Broadway, was Lebanon's first home. In 1802, Ephraim Hathaway purchased the structure from Corwin and opened Lebanon's first business, The Black Horse Tavern, a stagecoach stop along the way to Cincinnati, in the building. In 1826, Hathaway replaced the log cabin with a brick building. At different times it was known as the Ownly Hotel, the Bradley House, Lebanon House, and the Stubbs House. When added to the National Register of Historic Places on January 12, 1978, it was called the Golden Lamb.

In 1803, Jonas Seaman and his wife, Martha, along with their children arrived in Lebanon. Seaman was born in New Jersey, where his father, William, owned a tavern in Hopewell. After his arrival in Lebanon, Seaman built a two-story log building on lots he purchased from Ichabod Corwin. The lots were located on Broadway, at the crossroads of the north-south and east-west route through town, making it an ideal stagecoach stop. On December 23, 1803, Seaman paid $4.00 to secure a license from the Warren County Court, to operate a house of Public Entertainment. It's unknown when the tavern was first named The Golden Lamb. It was a common practice for early businesses to hang gaily painted signs to attract travelers. Since many people could not read, the signs were often pictorial, often with animal illustrations, such as geese, pigs, and sheep, so having a golden lamb on a sign was not unusual. Martha, who was industrious, thrifty, and a good cook, helped the inn become successful. They employed a few servants to help with spinning and weaving, churning, soap making, washing, and ironing. They had vegetable gardens, pig-pens, and chicken-houses behind their inn. Guests were served plentiful, good, pioneer food obtained from the Seaman's vegetable gardens, pig-pens, and chicken-houses behind the inn, along with deer, bear, wild turkey, hot corn bread, and old fashioned apple butter. The inns stables, which faced Main Street, provided shelter for guests horses. They soon became known as a good place for a meal and to spend the night. After Lebanon's first court house was built across from the inn in 1805, the Seaman's tavern became even more popular. It was a gathering place for lawyers and politicians, some of them prominent in Ohio's legislature and courts. The taverns public rooms became a gathering place where world news was exchanged and discussed and where messages and letters could be sent and/or received.

Financial problems plagued the nation in the nineteenth century. The cost of living continued to rise. Tavern licenses, which cost $4 in 1803, rose to $10 in 1805. Debts and the ability to collect them concerned all businessmen, including tavern and inn keepers. Despite the success of his tavern, Seaman had a lot of outstanding debt, which prevented him from paying his debts. In an attempt to collect the outstanding debts, Seaman put an advertisement in The Western Star in 1807, but it proved unsuccessful. He was forced to take out a mortgage, but still was unable to pay his debts, so in 1809 a public sale was held. Lebanon became a meeting place for troops raised in Hamilton, Butler, Clermont, and Warren during the War of 1812. The added activity and apparent prosperity did not help the Seamans, who were forced to finally give up their tavern.

Ichabod Corwin purchased the Seaman's tavern and in 1815, replaced the log structure with a brick building to house his tavern. For short periods over the next five years, Ephraim Hathaway, A. Hill, and several others operated the tavern. After their arrival in Lebanon in early 1820, Henry and Mary Share became the proprietors of the famous and successful hotel and tavern. They operated it together until Henry's death in 1830; then Mary operated it alone for seven years. By this time, the tavern had truly become a house of public entertainment. Advertisements announced plays, animal acts, and freaks performing at the tavern. Since Lebanon had no theatre and not many public buildings where entertainers could perform, the tavern became the town's first theatre. Plans for Ohio's canals, good roads, railroads, and bridges were discussed in the hotel's parlors. Celebrations and political rallies were common occurrences. For a week in 1827, the hotel housed three prominent foreign guests: Lord Demnan and Lord Dennison, members of the House of Lords in England, and The Earl of Derby, who was Lord Stanley at the time, and later Prime Minister of England.

For many years, the Golden Lamb had competition from The Indian Chief, a tavern located on Main Street behind the Court House. William Ferguson was proprietor of The Indian. Both hotel/taverns were stage stops. Coaches from Sandusky to Cincinnati stopped at The Golden Lamb and coaches from Lancaster to Cincinnati stopped at The Indian. After Ferguson's death in 1831, The Golden Lamb once again became the premier hotel in town, with professional men and tradesmen locating their businesses near the hotel.

In 1837, Mary sold The Golden Lamb to John and Aaron Pauly, who kept it for only a short time. One of the biggest events during the tavern's early history was the elaborate dinner served on June 9, 1840, to celebrate the arrival of the first canal boat in Lebanon. Isaac Stubbs purchased the tavern in February 1841, for $3,150. One month later, he sold it to Calvin Bradley for $6,700, and the tavern became known as The Bradley House. Bradley was well-known and remembered for many years after his death as being a genial host, who provided fine food, splendid banquets, and gracious hospitality. One of his famous early guests was 30-year-old Charles Dickens, who arrived by coach from Cincinnati on April 20, 1842, with his wife, Catherine and her maid. Dickens kept a journal of his first trip to America, which later became the basis of his book, American Notes, published that year in October. He noted in his journal, that they arrived at The Bradley House around 1 p.m. and dine shortly after with the boarders in the hotel. Beverage choices were coffee and tea, because it was a Temperance Hotel. After ordering a Brandy and being refused, Dickens wrote in his journal, This preposterous forcing of unpleasant drinks down the reluctant throats of travelers is not at all uncommon in America. After the meal and a change of horses, the Dickens' party continued its all night long journey to Columbus, Ohio.

In 1846, Bradley moved to Cincinnati, where he opened the Western Hotel. Isaac Stubbs reposed the building, which he and his heirs owned until 1914. Stubbs, a Quaker from Georgia, was a prosperous businessman, who was engaged in many ventures. On March 7, 1845, he placed the following advertisement in The Western Star, "That Valuable Tavern Stand, long known as The Golden Lamb Hotel, now The Lebanon House, in the town of Lebanon, Warren County, Ohio, is now for rent, or for sale. The House has lately been enlarged, and is in the first state of improvement. The Stabling, which is new, is large and commodious, and the whole premises well worth the notice of those who may wish to purchase or rent property of this kind." Stubbs, also advertised that a considerable amount of furniture used in the house could be purchased.

On August 6, 1847, Samuel Egbert advertised that he was the manager of The Golden Lamb and on October 29, 1847, E. A. Wiles, advertised he was the manager of The Lebanon House. Business apparently was prosperous, because new additions were frequently made over the years. In April 1854, Stubbs added a three-story wing on the north side of the original building. The 1860 U.S. Census lists Abner S. Ross, Jr., as the hotel manager. In November 1865, the newspaper announced a change of managers. In 1870, the newspaper announced William H. Hart secured a long term lease for The Lebanon House, then a little later announced that Hart was retiring and John Evans assumed the lease for The Lebanon House. Evans informed the paper he was selling the hotel. In order for the hotel to be a profitable operation, Isaac Stubbs realized an owner-manager was essential, so his son, Albert, became the manager and was associated with the hotel for 36 years. He called it  The Stubbs House for awhile, but changed it back to The Lebanon House, which was more familiar to the traveling public.

In 1878, Stubbs added a fourth story to the hotel to accommodate men building the railroad. The hotel's popularity continued to grow over the years. Over the years, 12 Presidents have either eaten or stayed at the hotel. President John Quincy Adams and President Martin Van Buren were the only presidents who visited after their term in office. Other Presidents who visited were: Rutherford B. Hayes during his first campaign for Governor of Ohio;  James A. Garfield and William McKinley visited the hotel several times during their Presidential campaigns; Warren G. Harding visited twice - once during his unsuccessful run for governor of Ohio and then for his successful run for United States Senator; 17-year-old Ulysses S. Grant visited Lebanon while tour Ohio before attending West Point in Spring 1839; William Howard Taft, visited Lebanon to attend the funeral of Justice George R. Sage and served as one of 12 honorary pallbearers; while governor of California, Ronald Reagan visited to campaign for Congressman Donald E. Buz Lukens re-election; and George W. Bush, Jr. is the only president who visited The Golden Lamb during his term in office. He told a crowd in front of the hotel, I am proud to be the first sitting president to have visited here - actually I'm the first standing president today. While campaigning for her husband, George W. Bush, Sr.'s first campaign for president, Barbara Bush spent a night in The Golden Lamb. Other famous people who visited the hotel are: Former U.S. Senator, mayor of New York, and governor of New York DeWitt Clinton; author Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain; poet James Whitcomb Riley; author Harriet Beecher Stowe; education reformer and a Massachusetts politician Horace Mann; Jeremiah Morrow, represented Ohio in the United States House of Representative, was a U.S. Senator, and governor of Ohio; and artist Marcus Mote.

Robert Jones and a partner leased The Lebanon Hotel in 1926 and by 1927, he and another partner purchased the hotel. By the end of the year, Jones was the sole owner. His heirs continue to own the hotel today. Jones changed the name back  to The Golden Lamb. The hotel, which had 42 guest rooms and a dining room, was renovated into a restaurant with 10 dining rooms and 18 guest rooms, each named after a U.S. President or prominent person, who visited the hotel. Jones and his wife, Virginia, once again made The Golden Lamb a well-known hotel and restaurant. When the couple retired in 1969, the hotel was leased to the Comisar family, who at the time owned Cincinnati's Maisonette restaurant.Jones died in 1996 and Virginia died in 2004. Their only child, Joan Jones Portman, died in 1994. Her husband, William C. Portman, died 2010. His three children: U.S. Senator Rob Portman, Virginia Portman Amis, and William C. Portman III inherited hotel building, which they still own. Stevens Hospitality, run by Steven W. and Steven D. Mullinger, became the owners and operators of The Golden Lamb Hotel and Restaurant. The Mullingers and Portmans invested over $7 million in renovations, including a new kitchen. The Golden Lamb is currently being managed by The Phoenix Restaurant Group from Cincinnati, Ohio.

Many of the guests and employees at the Inn have had strange experiences, leading many to believe that the hotel is haunted. Two night auditors have had paranormal encounters. One witnessed several chairs in the closed dining room fall over all at once. The other auditor looked over at the staircase one evening while working and saw a little girl standing there. The site was unusual for the middle of the night as there were no adults around. Suddenly, the child disappeared. The Golden Lamb is believed to be haunted by a little girl. Some believe her to be Sarah, the niece of the Inn's manager Isaac Stubbs, others think she is Henry Clay's daughter Eliza who did expire at the Inn due to a terrible fever. One housekeeper is confident that Sarah is the spirit. She heard a tricycle coming down the hall one day. A young voice said, "Sarah's back." She ran to the hall, but saw no one and nothing out there. An employee named Geri told Cincinnati's City Beat that she had heard an authoritative disembodied male voice call out, "Sarah!" She was sure it was Sarah's grandfather. The strange thing is that Sarah did not die at the Inn. She grew up, got married and died at a ripe old age. Was her stay here imprinted on the location somehow? Many items are heard falling off the walls in Sarah's Room as well.

Clement Vallandigham was a political force in Ohio during the Civil War Era. He was a Democrat who opposed President Lincoln and he believed that the South should be allowed to secede. He did not believe that violence should be used to keep the nation together. The Democrats who supported this position were called Peace Democrats. General Ambrose Burnside issued an order in Ohio that outlawed anyone showing sympathy to the enemy violating the freedom of speech of fellow Americans. Vallandigham was found in violation and Burnside had him arrested. He was sentenced to jail until the war ended, but President Lincoln commuted the sentence to exile in the Confederacy to prevent Peace Democrats from rising up. Vallandigham left the Confederacy after a few weeks and headed to Canada. He returned before the war ended and later headed the Ohio Democrat Party. He was a lawyer as well and would meet his ultimate end while defending a client. Vallandigham was discussing the case with an associate.He had two guns on the table, one loaded, the other not. A local paper describes what happened next, “[He] picked up a revolver and putting it in his right pocket, drew it out far enough only to keep the muzzle touching his body and snapped the hammer. The weapon exploded and sent its deadly missile into the abdomen at a point almost corresponding with that in which Meyers was shot. Mr. Vallandigham exclaimed that he had taken up the wrong pistol.” He died the next morning on the second floor in a parlor at the Golden Lamb Inn. Vallandigham was trying to prove that his client did not murder the victim and that rather, the victim had shot himself accidentially. His demonstration, while fatal, did result in the acquittal of his client.The spirit of the lawyer seems to have remained. His profile has appeared in a photo taken of a second story window. A manager believes she has heard the spirit sigh behind her. The manager said, “I turned around fast because it scared me, but there was no one there. The server hadn’t seen or heard anything, but I know what I heard. It was a human sound, maybe a man. After all these years something finally happened to me. I couldn’t believe it.” A server and a housekeeper saw full bodied apparitions of a man resembling Vallandigham.

Civil War General, William Sherman has a connection to the Golden Lamb. His father, Charles R. Sherman, was an Ohio Supreme Court Justice when he stayed at the Inn in 1929. He died suddenly during his stay at the age of forty-one. He left his wife and eleven children penniless and she had to give most of the children up for adoption. General Sherman was one of those children. He was raised by a neighbor named Thomas Ewing. Could this fact have left his father guilt-ridden and thus trapped here in the afterlife? Visitors sometimes claim to see a gaunt grey man and smell cigar smoke that is attributed to his spirit.

The gift shop has had its share of unexplained occurrences. One employee thinks she attracts spirits to her. There is a shelf in the shop lined with stuffed animals. Many times when this employee would pass the shelf, those stuffed animals would launch themselves toward her. And not just one at a time. It would be the entire shelf full all at once. This was witnessed once by another shop employee. This witness had an experience involving the cash register. She was talking to a guest about the supposed ghosts at the hotel and she said she did not believe there really were any ghosts. All of a sudden, the register started spitting out a receipt with a bunch of gibberish key strokes.

A blogger at the website All Stays wrote, "In addition, we not only experienced some "weird lighting effects" in our room when we stayed there, but we believe we brought home an other-worldly visitor from TGL, who spent a month or more hiding--and then replacing--various things from our home until, on a hunch, we finally asked it to stop! (It complied and/or left our home immediately after that request...)"

Chris Moody, who spent a night in the Harriet Beecher Stowe room at The Golden Lamb, wrote about his stay on the Internet on August 8, 2012. He wrote that Sarah Stubbs original room was the Harriet Beecher Stowe room, located at the top of stairs on the fourth floor, but she was forced into a different room and was furious and has since returned to haunt her childhood home. Moody's only ghostly experience were loud footsteps on the floor in the room above his. On the way to his room, he passed a busy maid, who immediately spotted his voice recorder and notepad. "Are you a ghost hunter?" she asked, and offered a word of caution. "The doors to the TV case pop open all the time and it's not the latch," she warned. "Because I've had the maintenance man check the latch. The phone in the haunted room doesn't work either, the maintenance guy has checked that, too."

There were only a few people staying in the entire hotel that night, including one person sleeping in The Ronald Reagan Room on the fourth floor with Moody. While having dinner in the hotel restaurant, Moody quizzed the staff about their experiences with haunts at The Golden Lamb. His waitress showed him her hand with a nasty scar that stretches across three fingers, which were sliced open when a porcelain sink collapsed on her in the basement. She had just finished telling her colleagues about how all the ghost talk was hogwash when the sink came crashing down. Now she's a believer and keeps her distance. She said she wouldn't go upstairs, downstairs, in the tunnels, nothing. She said, No, thank you. Everybody knows, they don't ask me anymore because I'm not going.

By the end of his stay, Moody met three staff members who refused to venture to the top floor. The manager told Moody that one night, 40 glasses were destroyed when they suddenly fell from the cupboard and crashed onto the ground. She said, I can't explain that one. It was past midnight and the few guests staying overnight have gone to bed and the night auditor is sitting by himself downstairs listening to piano music from the kitchen. Suddenly the peace is broken by the sudden sound of Thump! Thump! Thump! above Moody's head. It stops for a moment and then starts again. He wrote that he had heard stories of past guests saying they hear footsteps in the same room. He was on the top floor of the hotel, but it sound like someone is stomping around directly above him through the ceiling. Then it stopped and didn't happen again.

Are the experiences of all these people just really their overactive imaginations getting the best of them? Are the spirits of some of the guests still checked in? Is the Golden Lamb Inn  haunted? That is for you to decide!


  1. Great Show Ladies! I enjoy listening to your podcast and this show in particular. I grew up in the Ohio area and the Golden Lamb was a favorite of my family. A beautiful old building. Thanks for the hard work in rooting out all the details as I'm a historian and your work is on the score! Well done.

    1. Thanks Mike! Glad you enjoyed the show. It sounds like a really neat place. And thanks for the compliment on our research. We appreciate that!

  2. Neil Armstrong lived as a farmer in Lebanon for 23 years after the moon landing. Pretty safe to say you can add him to the list of famous people who at least dined at The Golden Lamb.

    When I was a child I dined there a few times and could definitely feel that something was "off" about the place but never actually saw or heard anything. This was before I had heard anything about it being haunted. It felt like someone was watching you in a friendly way - but it was still spooky of coarse.