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JIM: The Meadow Hill Inn opens, 1947

Jim's Super Mega Magnum Opus is a fabulous compilation of sketches of a fabulous era in Adair County History, and a fabulous venue one of the county's greatest ever restaurants, meeting halls, and collection of family businesses: The Meadow Hill Inn. Business leaders and clubs met here; there were great social gatherings, and great banquets, with socialites and famous people from authors to business leaders to Governors and more. Jim finishes with an account of a merger of two great families.
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Sixty-five years ago this week, Columbia's newest eatery and soon-to-be premiere meeting place swung wide its doors to the public. On Thursday, April 3rd, 1947, proprietors W.L. Walker and Robert E. Cheatham hosted an open house of the just-completed Meadow Hill Inn -- three blocks off the Square on Burkesville Street -- with the confectionery shop open for business. Two days later, the main restaurant began operation by serving the first of the hundreds of thousands of sumptuous meals consumed there over the ensuing decades.

Stated the News in the April 2nd edition,

No expense has been spared in making Meadow Hill Inn as modern as the times will permit. All equipment is of the finest and most up-to-date and the place is beautifully decorated throughout. The parking problem has been solved by a large parking lot in front of the building.

On the main floor was the efficient and up-to-date kitchen, presided over by head cook Joe Acre, "recently returned here, after eight years experience in a fashionable Ann Arbor, Mich., restaurant;" the spacious main dining room, adorned with bird prints, fancy draperies, and a fireplace; the above-mentioned confectionery shop and lounge "equipped with a large fountain, comfortable booths and show cases to display candies, cigars, cigarettes and gift items." (By the latter part of 1949, an ad in the News touted the gift shop as having the "Largest Selection of good Magazines In Town," and if not then, not much later the gift shop began carrying books. (Thelbert Curry Adds Hill Man; Now Has One Of Most Beautiful Complete Sets Of Giles books

On the lower (basement) level was a private dining area, called the Pioneer Room, suitable for club meetings, parties, and the like. This level was also occupied in part by Mrs. Nat (Ella) Walker's florist shop, which had its own outside entrance. An ad for Walker Florist appeared in April 2nd edition, listing the many Easter-related floral items available. The ad ended with "Phone 33A, Meadow Hill Inn Bldg."

The News further reported that

Other features of Meadow Hill Inn are rest rooms for ladies and gentlemen on both floors; an oil heating system; asphalt tile flooring and soundproof ceilings through-out. The plant was erected according to State Board of Health specifications for a Grade A restaurant. It was built under the supervision of Mason Judd, local contractor.

Just over a year later, an American Automobile Association field agent gave a favorable report and Meadow Hill Inn subsequently was listed in the Directory as an AAA-approved establishment.

An ad in the June 25th, 1947 paper gave a glimpse of the menu (by this time, Mr. Walker had bought out Mr. Cheatham; the Meadow Hill was open til midnight but was closed on Tuesdays; and "Reservations Gladly Accepted--Phone 211"):
Shrimp Cocktail, 35c
Choice T-bone Steak, French Fries, Salad and Drink, $1.50
Grilled Tenderloin Steak, French Fries, Salad and Drink, $1.50
Fried Country Ham, French Fries, Vegetable, Salad and Drink, $1.50
Jumbo Frog Legs, French Fries, Cole Slaw and Drink, $1.50
Scallops, French Fries, Vegetable, Cole Slaw and Drink, $1.25
Fried Perch, French Fries, Vegetable, Cole Slaw and Drink, 90c
Sirloin Steak, French Fries, Salad and Drink, $1.00
Breaded Veal Cutlets, Potatoes and Vegetable, 60c
Roast Beef, Potatoes and Vegetable, 60c
Special Fish Fry, French Fries and Cole Slaw, 50c
Steak Sandwich and French Fries, 40c
Strawberry Short Cake, 25c
Home Made Pecan Pie, 20c
For those on a more penurious budget, Meadow Hill Inn offered over 30 different sandwiches and had a large selection of nickel candy bars.

The above-mentioned private dining/meeting area, the Pioneer Room, proved wildly popular. One of the first groups to meet there was, appropriately enough, this one, as announced in the April 16th, 1947 News:

Mrs. Nat Walker and Mrs. Horace Cundiff will be hostesses to the Jane Lampton Chapter of the D.A.R., on Monday evening at 7:30, April 21, at Meadow Hill Inn. Mrs. Cundiff will have for her subject, "Early American Inns."

And with that, the flood gates opened. A smattering of entries from 1947 and 1948 gives an idea of Meadow Hill Inn's popularity as a meeting place:

Dinner Party (April 1947)
On Sunday night, the younger crowd met at Meadow Hill Inn for an Easter dinner party. The following were present: Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Flowers, Mr. and Mrs. Warren Shipp, Mr. and Mrs. Maurice Moran, Mr. and Mrs. James Phelps, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Allison, Mr. and Mrs. J.L. Vaughn, Jr., Mr. and Mrs. Wynn Shriver, Miss Dorothy Dillon and Mr. O.D. Eubank.

("Sunday night" referred to Sunday, April 6th, the second day Meadow Hill Inn was fully open.)

C.H.S. Seniors Entertained at Meadow Hill Inn (May, 1947)
One of the most pleasing school events in the history of Columbia High School was the banquet given at the Meadow Hill Inn on Friday evening by the Junior Class for the Senior class, faculty and members of the school board...

Rotarians Meeting At Meadow Hill Inn (June, 1947)
Members of the Columbia Rotary Club held their Monday evening meeting in the private dining room at Meadow Hill Inn, which they expect to make their meeting place in the future...

C.H.S. Grads Plan Reunion Dinner (April, 1948)
Members of the class of 1930 graduating class at the Columbia High School are planning a reunion dinner which will be held at Meadow Hill Inn next Saturday night.Mrs. George Hadley and Miss Eva Frazer are in charge of arrangements and they expect a large number of the original class of thirty students to be present.

Firestone Managers Met Here On Friday (December, 1948)
Howard Cheatham, manager of the local Firestone Store, was host at an all day meeting of Firestone store managers of the Cincinnati territory on Friday. He entertained them at lunch at Meadow Hill Inn.

Banquet For Raiders At Meadow Hill Inn (April, 1948)
The annual athletic banquet for the Lindsey Wilson Junior College basketball players was held at 7:30 last night at Meadow Hill Inn with about forty in attendance, including the cheer leaders and number of local guests.

Governor Is Entertained At Meadow Hill Inn (August, 1947)
Governor Simeon Willis was entertained at dinner at Meadow Hill Inn as the guest of the manager, William L. Walker, when he spoke here on Tuesday night of last week. Azro Hadley, head of the State Revenue Department, and David Heskamp were entertained with the Governor.

W.H. Warren Speaker At Rotary Dinner (October, 1947)
Members of the Columbia Rotary Club held their weekly dinner meeting at the Meadow Hill Inn on Monday night with the president, Louis Merkley, presiding.Dr. H.C. Randall, program chairman and aviation enthusiast, briefly told of the progress being made at Streeval Airport. He then introduced the guest speaker, W.H. Warren, flying instructor at the airport.

Mr. Warren outlined the advancement of aviation in his talk and told of benefits it has to offer towns and communities. He said that he now has 15 men taking flying lessons and several are already soloing.

Fireman's School Held In Columbia (June, 1948)
A 5-day school of instruction for local firemen, conducted by Capt. V.A. beam, Chief of State Fireman's Training, closed Friday night and the eighteen local volunteer firemen who attended said that they benefited greatly by the course.Capt. Beam held afternoon and night sessions, giving instruction in the latest methods of firefighting...

The evening sessions were held at Meadow Hill Inn, courtesy of the manager, William L. Walker.

Mrs. Owen D. Davis Entertains With Dessert Bridge (June, 1948)
Mrs. Owen D. Davis entertained with a dessert bridge at Meadow Hill Inn on Tuesday evening. The tables were decorated with roses as was the large dining room where the guests were entertained. Four prizes were awarded and refreshments were served before and after the games.

The guests included: Mrs. Charlie Sandusky, Mrs. James Montgomery, Mrs. C.R. Barger, Mrs. J.W. Walker, Mrs. Edwin Waggener, Mrs. H.V. Appen, Mrs. Ashton Shrader, Mrs. Ivan Shivley, Mrs. John Burr, Mrs. Wynn Shriver, Mrs. Maurice Moran, Mrs. Joseph Allison, Mrs. A.G. Stroup, Mrs. J.D. Harper, Mrs. J.L. Vaughn, Jr. Mrs. Glenn Lambert, Mrs. Calvin Rowe, Mrs. Warren C. Shipp, Mrs. Asa Shelton and Miss Dorothy Dillon.

Reception Planned For Rev. Wyckoff and Family (June, 1948)
The two Missionary societies of the Presbyterian Church have issued invitations to all members of the church to attend a reception at Meadow Hill Inn at 8:00 o'clock Friday evening to meet the new minister, Rev. A.C. Wyckoff, Mrs. Wykoff, and their two daughters.

Birthday Party At Meadow Hill Inn (July, 1948)
On Monday afternoon Mrs. Ray Calhoun entertained a number of young people in honor of her daughter, Sandra, who was celebrating her seventh birthday. Games were played and refreshments served to the following:
Frances Flowers Combest, Brenda Morgan, Joann Squires, Sue Guthrie, Barbara Jean Cundiff, Ann Todd Jeffries, Sharon Dohoney, Dixie Lee Rowe, Mary Ann Garnett, Maryann Petern, Susan and Sandra Calhoun, Richard Appen, Darrell Young, William Robert Parson, Phillip Vance, Dan and David Shelton, Carroll Fisher, Sammy and Henry Sandusky. Mrs. Calhoun was assisted in hospitalities by Misses Noema Akin and Martha Collins.

And, of course, no mention of the Meadow Hill Inn can be complete without mention of this partnership which started in 1948:

Walkup - Walker
Miss Maxine Walkup and Mr. William L. Walker were united in marriage on Monday morning, May 10, at eleven o'clock at the Parkview Methodist Church, in Louisville. Rev. H.T. Chandler was the officiating minister.

The bride was attired in a tailored dress of white crepe, with brown accessories and wore a white orchid on her shoulder. The daughter of Mr. and Mrs. S.F. Walkup, of Jamestown, she is a graduate of the Jamestown High School and Lindsey Wilson Junior College. For the past three years she has been a teacher in the Jamestown Public Schools.

Miss Marie Walkup, sister of the bride and her only attendant, wore a pink dress of embroidered linen with white accessories. Her corsage was a white orchid. Buford Smith served as best man.

Mr. Walker, the son of Mrs. Nat Walker, and the late Mr. Walker, attended Lindsey Wilson and was in the Navy during World War II for three and a half years. He is proprietor of Meadow Hill Inn. They have an apartment at the home of his mother on Frazer Ave., which they are now occupying after a short wedding trip.

This Mega Magnum Opus, compiled by JIM

This story was posted on 2012-04-05 09:11:19
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Meadow Hill Inn, Columbia, KY

2012-04-02 - Burkesville Street, Columbia, KY - Photo from postcard collection, Wally Burress.
"Meadow Hill Inn on Ky 80, Columbia, Kentucky." First posted on CM 2009-11-06: Wally Burress, Columbia, KY bought a postcard with this scene from about 53 years ago, when the finest restaurant in South Central Kentucky was the Meadow Hill Inn. Burress bought the card on e-Bay. The date the message is 1956, but there doesn't seem to be any 1950's cars in the lot of 50s manufacture, so the photo was probably taken a few years earlier. One car, third from left, looks to be the 1949 Buick Roadmaster owned by then Columbia Postmaster Ray Flowers. Surely someone can identify the lime green sedan next to it, or can make out some of the Chevrolets, Plymouths, and maybe an Oldsmobile or Pontiac among the 25 vehicles Wally Burress counted in the lot. The truck parked in the back, closest to the railing, looks like one the late Stewart Hutchison used to drive. The postcard isn't for sale. Wally Burress said it goes in his safe, along with a lot memorabilia about his horse, Coax Me Chad, the second place finisher in the 1984 Kentucky Derby. The horse lives in retirement on Burress' farm at Bliss, KY. The card was postmarked Columbia, KY, June 25, 1956. It read, "Dear Girls, Met Bill and Joyce at Elizabethtown. Eating lunch here at 3:15. Having a wonderful trip. Stopped at Lincoln's birthplace this morning." It appears to be signed "The Rebergs," and is addressed to "The Reberg's Office/Sondra and Nancy/119 E. 4th, Maryville, MO."

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Meadow Hill Inn menu, 1947

2018-12-07 - Columbia, KY - Photo courtesy Jim.
After a two-day open house, Meadow Hill Inn opened for business seventy-one years ago this past spring -- Saturday, April 5, 1947 -- and immediately became the go-to place of Adair County. The attached menu image appeared several weeks later, in the June 25, 1947 edition of the News.

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