About

History of Claudia Sanders Dinner House

While ravished by fire the day after Mother’s Day, 1999 the Dinner House has reopened in an improved facility. We have larger banquet facilities and a state of the art kitchen, but have maintained the country charm of the old dinner house. With the enlarged and updated kitchen we have the space and equipment to prepare you favorite Kentucky dishes the way your grandmother made them.

In 1959, at the age of 69, Colonel Harland Sanders and his wife, Claudia, moved from Southeastern Kentucky to Shelbyville. Prior to this, the Colonel had spent many years in Corbin, Kentucky, developing his now world-famous chicken recipe. His move to Shelbyville was prompted by the opening of Interstate 75 which bypassed Corbin and his restaurant. It was however, from this very building that Kentucky Fried Chicken grew into a world-wide organization.

The one hundred twenty five year old dwelling, Blackwood Hall, which is adjacent to the Dinner House, served as the Sander’s residence and the base of operation for Kentucky Fried Chicken after their move here. The expanding business soon brought a need for office and warehouse space, so they constructed a building, later to become Claudia Sanders Dinner House that burned in May 1999.

In 1964, Colonel Sanders sold Kentucky Fried Chicken and the company offices were moved. Neither this building nor the Sanders were to remain idle for long however. Their knowledge of Southern Recipes and their natural leaning toward the restaurant business soon brought about the creation of this, the Claudia Sanders Dinner House where an air of Southern Hospitality and cooking combined with old fashioned, family style service still remain. You can take some of these Southern recipes home with you. Ask our hostess about the ‘Claudia Sanders Dinner House Cookbook’, a welcome addition to any cook’s collection.

The Colonel Years

Biographical Timeline:

  • Sep. 9, 1890 – Harland Sanders is born in Henryville, IN.
  • 1930 – Sanders begins to serve food at his service station in Corbin, KY.
  • 1935 – Governor Ruby Laffoon makes Sanders a Kentucky Colonel in recognition for his contribution to the state’s cuisine.
  • 1939 – Sanders perfects his blend of 11 herbs and spices in his Corbin, KY restaurant.
  • 1952 – Pete Harman of Salt Lake City, UT becomes the first Kentucky Fried Chicken Franchisee.
  • 1955 – Sanders incorporates Kentucky Fried Chicken. He begins business because his $105 a month Social Security income is not enough to live on.
  • 1956 – Sanders sells his Corbin, KY restaurant and travels to enlist new franchisees; signs his first international franchisee in Canada.
  • 1959 – Sanders and his wife Claudia move to Shelbyville, KY and make Blackwood Hall on U.S. 60 Kentucky Fried Chicken’s corporate headquarters.
  • 1964 – Kentucky Fried Chicken, with more than 600 restaurants, is sold to a group of investors, including John Y. Brown, Jr.
  • 1968 – Sanders and Claudia open Claudia Sanders Dinner House, originally called The Colonel’s Lady, in Shelbyville, KY.
  • 1969 – KFC is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and Saners buy first 100 shares.
  • Dec. 16, 1980 – Sanders dies at age 94 and is buried in Cave Hill Cemetary.
  • Dec. 31, 1996 – Claudia Sanders dies at age 90 and is buried in Cave Hill Cemetary.
  • 1997 – Auction is held at Claudia Sanders’ Brentwood home where Joe Ruble buys more than 100 photographs and other memorabilia.
  • May 1999 – The original Colonel’s Lady burned to the ground (the day after Mother’s Day). The building was rebuilt, with expanded facilities for hosting private parties and conferences.