Jonas Seaman traveled from New Jersey to the Ohio Country and bought a $4 license to operate a “house of Public Entertainment” on Broadway in the newly-founded village of Lebanon in 1803. He probably never have imagined that more than 200 years later his establishment would still be offering food and lodging for travelers. Today, the Golden Lamb is recognized as the oldest continually operating business in Ohio.
The Golden Lamb owes its early success due to location – halfway between the great river town of Cincinnati and the National Road (now U.S. Route 40). Seaman’s establishment got its name from the sign hung outside the business – an image of a golden lamb – because many early travelers could not read.
Robert Jones took over the property in 1926 and began transforming it into the restaurant and hotel that it has become. The Jones family still owns the Golden Lamb today. A fire at the Golden Lamb in 1928 forced the Jones’ to purchase second-hand pieces to replace furniture that had been lost. Little did they know their purchases would become a beautiful collection of Shaker artifacts and rare antiques that are still in use today throughout the restaurant and hotel.
Throughout its 200+ years, the Golden Lamb has hosted, entertained and provided lodging for many notable guests, but none more honorable than 12 United States presidents. From its early days as a stopping point between Cincinnati and the National Road to its historic legacy as a political stop in a battleground state, United States presidents have visited the Golden Lamb before, during and after their time in our nation’s highest office. Presidents that have visited the Golden Lamb include:
Nathaniel Grauwelman as well as various staff and volunteers.