Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2015 - 44
SleepIng In School
(And not Getting Kicked Out!)
It's a dream-come-true, especially for former
students: The setting where they struggled to
stay awake is now a place designed for the
best in a comfortable night's rest.
Story and photos by Joe Tennis
Melvin Dixon pulls anD tugs. But
he cannot get his locker open.
"Stuck," he says, smiling.
Good thing that doesn't matter
anymore. It's been about 35 years
since Dixon needed his locker while
attending the eighth grade in
So, why is this all-around nice
guy still standing in the hallways of
the old Benham School?
Well, he's not a teacher, and he's
not a principal. Dixon is, instead,
the innkeeper of what is now called
the Benham School House Inn.
To d a y, p e r h a p s i r o n i c a l l y,
Dixon's job includes raising the flag
out front - just like he did as a student, all those years ago.
But, here's a big change: "I have
slept in the school," Dixon says,
smiling. "The beds are very
Benham School House Inn ranks
among a small number of educational institutions in the mountains
- including a women's college and a
one-room school - that have become
Come check in like you would
enroll for your first day in class.
Carry a suitcase like a book bag. And
don't worry about making the grade.
Why, you don't even have to make
Just remember: Dismissal is now
your checkout time.
100 CentRal avenue, Benham, KentuCKy,
606-848-3000 | KentuCKytouRism.Com
Some guests at the Benham
School House Inn look at the old
lockers in the hallways and appear
initially hesitant to spend the
night. "I guess it's just that thought,
'I'm sleeping in an old school,'"
says the innkeeper, Melvin Dixon.
"Then they see the rooms. And the
rooms sell themselves."
This hotel offers 30 plush guest
rooms that are numbered, mostly,
for the years that the school in
Benham, Kentucky, was open to
high school students: 1928 to
Classes for elementary grades
were held through 1992. Four
years later, the entire inn opened.
The principal's office became a
dining room, and the old library
graduated into a guest room. "We
melvin dixon, now innkeeper at the Benham
school house inn, attended the school.
have three rooms that are the size
of a classroom," Dixon says. "All
the other classrooms, they split in
half. So, one big classroom is now
two lodging guest rooms."
Many visitors are former students. The school's alumni have, in
turn, donated money to renovate
the handsome brick building. "They
didn't want to see it abandoned,"
Dixon says. "And, they wanted that
school feeling when you walk in."
Restaurant for Recess: Enjoy complimentary breakfast with breads,
fruit and cereal at the Benham School
School aTV lodge
205 Bluestone avenue, BRamwell,
304-754-5500 | RidehatfieldmCCoy.Com