Many Hoosiers know about the charm of Nashville, Ind. Fewer know about Story, a unique town 13 miles away.
In 1851, President Millard Fillmore granted a 173-acre tract of land in southern Brown County to George Story, an Ohio physician attracted to the area by its timber. Dr. Story and his family erected buildings on a cleared site, which became known first as “Storyville,” and then simply as “Story.” Within a few years, the unincorporated village was the largest in the area, including homes, a doctor’s office, a general store, a church, a school, a sawmill, a grist mill, a slaughterhouse and a post office. When the general store, which supplied huckster wagons servicing nearby farms, burned in 1915, the owner replaced it with a larger two-story structure. A second general store was added in the 1920s, the peak of the town’s prosperity. The Great Depression, during which Brown County lost half its population, hit Story hard. The creation of Lake Monroe in 1960, cutting off highway access to the town from Bloomington, furthered its decline.
Today, all 14 remaining buildings are operated as Story Inn, a bed and breakfast using the slogan “One inconvenient location since 1851.” The restaurant in the original general store still has Standard Oil crown pumps near the entrance and features stained glass windows, creaky floors, a potbelly stove, rusty farm antiques and the presidential land grant. It is famous for Indiana-inspired gourmet meals. When I ate there last month, the food and service were superb. The five course, prix fixe meal included an egg arpege amuse, featuring poached yolk, trout roe, pickled fennel and matsutake sabayon, and a magnificent caramelized onion soup. Story Inn is near the end of a winding scenic road that runs south from Nashville. The next time you visit Nashville, consider a trip to Story.