Document Type


Publication Date



Undergraduate Arts and Research Showcase


Duncan Tavern is a historical structure located at 323 High Street in Paris, Kentucky in Bourbon County. The structure currently serves as the headquarters for the Kentucky Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (KSDAR). KSDAR maintains that Duncan Tavern was originally built in the mid-1790s; the land was purchased in 1792 by Joseph Duncan, a civilian armorer in the Revolutionary War. Although Duncan Tavern has been listed on the National Register of Historical Places since 1973, a dendrochronological study of this structure was requested to quantitatively examine the legitimacy of archival and anecdotal claims about the construction history. Seventeen core samples were collected from whole-timber floor joists (identified as from white ash) in the cellar of the Duncan Tavern utilizing specialized drill bits and variable speed drills. The core samples were then cross-dated to produce a floating 200-year tree-ring chronology. Utilizing a White Ash reference chronology from the nearby Clay Cabin (1628–1811), also in Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky, the floating Duncan Tavern chronology was anchored to the years 1595–1794 (r=0.51, p < 0.001). Complete outer rings with intact bark indicate tree felling during the dormant period in 1795–1796. These findings align with claims made by KSDAR that the tavern was built in the mid-1790s. In addition, this dating suggests that this site is an eighteenth-century early settlement structure, making it one of the oldest buildings in the state of Kentucky.