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With the creation of the Michigan Road in 1830s connecting the Ohio River and Michigan Lake, traveling through Indiana became both a necessity and crowded. George W. Ashton, a local, established this inn in 1852 to offer rest and entertainment to both travelers and businessmen. A few years later it was to be used also as a stagecoach stop. However, railroads became more prominent in the area after the Civil War, so the importance of both the MIchigan Road and the inn lessened until the inn closed. It has been preserved since then to showcase and educate visitors on Indiana's early history and the history of the Michigan Road.

The Ashton Inn as it appears today

The Ashton Inn as it appears today
George Ashton was born on February 6, 1811 and died on October 25, 1866. He is buried in Indianapolis's Crown Hill Cemetery. Ashton was remembered as being a fun and entertaining host as well as an entertainer of sorts for locals. It is said that he used to ride his horse into town (also named George) and Mr. Ashton would perform circus-like tricks for hours. He was additionally known as a bully who never shied from a fight. 

According to the National Parks Service: The inn is built in the Greek Revival style and is rectangular in plan with an early one story addition that served as a summer kitchen. The large, double-decked porch or gallery was used for circulation. On the second level of the front facade, French doors opened onto the roofed portico. The building has an entry hall with a grand staircase with a winding return at the top, a living room, and great room on the first level of the main section. The simple yet substantial architecture of the house was once typical of prosperous middle-class urban and rural dwellings in central Indiana. Few examples remain today.

For more on the Michigan Road, see Clio entry: Michigan Road Toll House

 "Indiana State Historic Architectural and Archaeological Research Database (SHAARD)" (Searchable database). Department of Natural Resources, Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology. Note: This includes Gary A. Ratner and Terry L. Bradbury (June 1985). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory Nomination Form: Aston Inn" (PDF). And accompanying photographs.