History

Discover the Beard and Lady Inn’s tumultuous story of fire, flood, and fame.

The History of the Inn

Built in 1888 by prominent business owner Jacob Yoes, The Beard and Lady Inn began as The Chester Inn: a hotel and dry goods store. Perhaps due its sturdy hand-kilned bricks, The Inn managed to survive massive fires in 1908 and 1936 that nearly destroyed the entire town of Chester, Arkansas. After the town-wide floods of 1934 and 1957, the Inn was the only structure in Chester to survive these four disasters.

In the 1960s, The Chester Inn functioned as a store in its tiny but resilient town. By 2003, it was converted to a bed and breakfast and antique store. After spending her childhood in and around the Inn and the Railway, Lacey Hendrix returned to her family town of Chester and purchased the Inn.

For 18 months, Lacey and her team restored the historic building, careful to preserve its historic integrity. Opened to the public in 2019, the Beard and Lady Inn is more than a historic building or a hotel. Rather, it’s a respite for the weary and an invitation to travel back in time.

History: Tales of Ghosts

A Mysterious Past

Over the years, employees and guests have reported strange supernatural activity, and the Beard and Lady Inn is considered haunted by some.

Footsteps in the night

Many decades ago, a hotel guest named Clarence froze to death on the balcony of Room no. 4 after becoming intoxicated at the formerly adjoining Butler’s Saloon. The story goes that since this time, a male presence has been felt and footsteps have been heard wandering the building late at night.

Visitations from a WWI Brothel

It’s believed that the Beard and Lady Inn (then called The Chester Inn) served as a brothel between WWI and WWII. Passersby and train riders have reported seeing two ghostly women named Ruby and Pearl dressed in old fashioned clothing waving from the hotel’s second floor window. It’s claimed that Ruby and Pearl were ladies of the night from The Inn’s bordello days.

Today: Restored Immersive Experience/Themed Rooms

After purchasing The Inn in 2019, Lacey and Lance Hendrix dreamed of ways to give modern guests an immersive and unique experience in historic Chester. Today, each of the 11 rooms in the Beard and Lady Inn evokes a theme, inspired by common fears. With evocative motifs like loneliness, writer’s block, and commitment, these curious rooms invite each guest to explore not only their new surroundings, but the fears they’ve brought with them in hopes that they can face them, grow and overcome them.

Hollywood Features

The Inn’s Hollywood Debuts

Because of Chester’s historic roots and the Inn’s paranormal reputation, it’s been the host to Hollywood films. 

In 1988, the film Biloxi Blues, starring Matthew Broderick, features shots of the Arkansas & Missouri railroad train that passes in front of The Chester Inn. 

 

Filming of Biloxi Blues in front of Beard and Lady Inn, Photo by J.P. Bell

In 1994, the movie Frank & Jesse -- starring Rob Lowe, Bill Paxton, and Randy Travis-- features shots of the railroad and the front of the The Chester Inn.

Beard and Lady Inn is setup to look like a bank and hotel
Bank robbery scene in the Convention Hall area
Shot on the stairs of the Beard and Lady Inn
The old mercantile store with the church in the background
Van Buren covered in sand and made to look like a Wild West town
Randy Travis robbing the Arkansas & Missouri train
In 2018, HBO's True Detective Season 3 filmed a crime scene nearby at Yellow Rock in Devil's Den, Mount Gaylor Lookout Tower and used Mountainburg's Public School buildings for multiple scenes.

Architectural Features:

Completed in 1887, the Beard and Lady Inn is an example of nineteenth century commercial architecture in Arkansas. 

  • Double-hung sash windows with segmented arch heads and cast stone sills
  • Cast iron label style heads cover the brick window and door openings in the front
  • Brick above the second story windows is set in an ornamental pattern with three inset panels beneath corbels
  • Double entry doors on first and second story have transoms
  • The Convention Hall has the original merchandise shelving shipped by rail from St. Louis in 1887