Duncan Tavern Historic Center

Historical Marker #93 commemorates the Duncan Tavern Historic Center in Paris, Kentucky.

In 1788, four years before Kentucky became a state, Major Joseph Duncan built his imposing inn on what is now the public square of Paris. Built of native limestone and including twenty rooms, the three-story building was owned by the Duncan family for forty-one years.

In the heyday of Duncan Tavern, it was a gathering place of many distinguished pioneers including Daniel Boone, Simon Kenton, and Michael Stoner.

After Major Duncan died, his widow, Ann, continued to live there, raising their six children. Their third son, Joseph Duncan, Jr., was the fifth governor of Illinois. Abraham Lincoln began his public service as a representative in state government in 1834 and served under Governor Duncan. On many occasions the two Kentucky natives campaigned together.

Over the years, Duncan Tavern served as a residence, tavern, and a boarding house until the facility was saved from demolition in 1940 by the Kentucky Society Daughters of the American Revolution. Today, the building serves as the official state headquarters of the organization and contains an in-house museum, the John Fox, Jr., Genealogical Library, a gift shop, and meeting facilities. Guided tours allow visitors to enjoy the architecture, furniture, and the wonderful stories of its historic past.