At The Golden Lamb, With No Ghosts Visible

Today I drove down to Lebanon, Ohio to have lunch at the Golden Lamb with a friend.

It’s the first time I’ve ever been to the Golden Lamb, which is the the oldest continuously operated business in Ohio.  The business has been around since 1803, and it has been in its current location since 1815.  Countless luminaries of the 19th and 20th centuries — including many Presidents — have visited the establishment, which was centrally located between Cincinnati and the old National Road.

You feel the age of the Golden Lamb when you visit, but in this case that is a good thing.  It’s obvious that the rooms and floors and other additions have been built on, piecemeal, as the years have passed.  Walking through the oddly shaped rooms gives the structure a pleasant, quaint feeling, because the dimensions and design of the rooms are unlike those of modern buildings.  You feel like Mark Twain or John Quincy Adams could be just around the corner, ready to stroll into view.

We ate in the Dickens Room and had a good meal that featured some excellent peanut soup and a tasty, well-made cheeseburger.  I wondered if the peanut soup was an old recipe, and for that matter whether the menu — which featured a number of “stick to your ribs” meals — bore much relation to the bill of fare handed to weary, saddle-sore travelers during the 1800s.

As we were leaving I spoke to a few members of the staff, and they said that the history in the place has some more disturbing manifestations.  They are convinced that the Golden Lamb is haunted by a number of different ghosts that include men, women, and children.  They speak of their encounters with the spectral world with great sincerity, and standing among the physical trappings of days gone by it is not difficult to believe that spirits from the 19th-century might find the Golden Lamb a peaceful place to inhabit.  I didn’t see any ghosts, however.

The Golden Lamb is no longer a centrally located, bustling business, as it was in dusty decades past, but it is worth a visit whether you are looking for some living history, a ghostly encounter, or a good meal.

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