History of the Inn

In 1903, the Sheltering Home Circle of Durham NC, formed a local chapter of the International Order of King’s Sons and Daughters – a non-denominational Christian organization dedicated to philanthropy and education. Like other chapters across the country, their work focused on social services, intending to provide a comfortable and pleasant residence for single, older women. In addition to their fundraising efforts, Brodie Duke’s generous contribution of land across the street from Duke University (then Trinity College) and a $500 “nest egg” allowed them to establish the first King’s Daughters Home of Durham in 1911.

This subsidized housing for single, aging women became so popular that they eventually outgrew their facility and began fundraising for a new, larger Home to replace the first. This time, all three Duke brothers – James B., Brodie, and Benjamin – made significant contributions to ensure the venture’s success. On New Year’s Day 1926, the King’s Daughters celebrated the opening of their second Home, the two-story Colonial (Revival) style brick building we see preserved today.

Continuing to grow, they built “The Annex” in 1957 with additional bedrooms, an elevator, and an auditorium. At the peak of its popularity, the Home served 34 women who were attended by 9 full-time, live-in staff members.

By the 1990’s, the growing popularity of large retirement communities with on-site medical facilities signaled the decline of the dormitory-style retirement living provided by the King’s Daughters Home. As the paradigm shifted, the number of residents dwindled to three. In 2006, the Circle made the difficult decision to close the institution and sell its Home.

After languishing on the market for over a year, the King’s Daughters Home had not found a suitable new owner. Though some had considered converting it to condominiums, Colin and Deanna Crossman had an entirely different vision: restoration and transformation into the King’s Daughter Inn – a boutique Bed and Breakfast intended to serve Duke University and the surrounding communities. On April 18th, 2009, after two years of meticulous planning and renovation, the King’s Daughters Home became the King’s Daughters Inn. For a more detailed account, please see our Guest Directory at the Inn.

Endangered Durham, a local blog dedicated to telling the story of Durham's past, has published a wonderful history with fantastic photographs. Check it out!