County Road 11: Inn the Oaks

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DECATUR, Miss. - (WTOK) A few years ago, two former mayors of Decatur saw a major need for the town. There really wasn't a nice hotel for visitors to stay or an upscale place to host events before the current owners, Randy Rushing and Pat O'Neill decided to purchase and renovate the nearly 90-year-old house.

Inn the Oaks (Photo Source: WTOK-TV)

In 1929, George Dunigan decided to use his life savings of eight-thousand dollars to build a fine home for his wife and family. He did so just before the stock market crash. Since that time, the house was owned by only two others before the current owners, Randy Rushing and Pat O'Neill decided to purchase and renovate the estate.

"This place bugged us. It was right here on the main corner in Decatur," said Rushing. "It was one of the first things you see when you come to this community. We're both previous mayors of this town. We really care what happens here and we just thought, Newton County not having a quality place for a family to stay and visitors to stay we thought we'd give it a shot and see what happens.

After the purchase, Pat and Randy, along with their wives, restored original items in the home and traveled across the South to purchase pieces from the period to help recreate it's original elegance.

"Our intent was to provide the modern amenities and when you walk in the door you feel like you're back at grandma's house. I will credit our wives for the decor but the furniture and all that is to period around the 1930 time frame"

And now, Inn the Oaks is a landmark in the heart of downtown Decatur, and is perfect for a bed in breakfast, wedding showers and birthday parties. And, it's attracted visitors from across the country and around the world.

"Germany for some reason seems to be----ugh---We see people from Germany come through a lot. They travel from Nashville to New Orleans on a Southern music tour and we're kind of halfway. We never aspired to be inn keepers so much as we just wanted to clean up the corner, make it look nice and offer the community something it didn't have. The biggest enjoyment that we've had is the friends we've made and the new people we've made...or met."