Indians had long hunted here and continued to frequent the area after the coming of the white man. In 1778, Squire Boone (Daniel Boone’s brother) and John McKinney discovered a stream and named it Doe Run Creek. Doe Run was the obvious name to give it since deer were seen in great numbers at the creek. Bison and elk were also attracted to the stream with its sulphur and salt licks. People from the east quickly began to settle along the stream.
Originally called Stevenson’s Mill, construction on the taller part of the Inn began around 1780 and finished around 1790, the smaller part was added around 1800 and was finished in 1821. Hand-hewn timbers and native limestone were the principle building materials, and each wall is over 24” thick. An old record book shows a payment made to Tom Lincoln (Abraham Lincoln’s father), who worked as a stone mason on the newer part of the building.
The building was first used as a mill, each owner trying to make the mill turn a profit. Completing with seven other mills located on the creek, the mill was shut down and turned into a barn for many years. At the turn of the century, the mill was bought by W.D. Coleman, who also owned a nearby completing mill. At this time this Inn was merely a barn.
In 1897 the Stevenson’s Mill was bought by W.D. Coleman, who also owned a nearby mill. At this time it was merely a barn. With some hard work and a little capital, the building was re-opened in 1901as a family resort and was known as ‘Sulfur Wells’ Hotel. Open only during the summer time, customers came from hundred miles around to drink the sulfer water which was considered to have ‘healing’ properties. Today, a few of the pumps still exist, however, all the water used at the Inn is city water!
Around 1947, the Haycrafts managed the Inn and started a traditional restaurant and hotel. The name was changed to ‘Doe Run Hotel’. When the management changed to Curtis and Lucille Brown (around 1958) so did the name. They changed it to ‘Doe Run Inn’ and continued to run the inn for over 25 years.