In 1929 George Harmon Love Dunagin, the owner and operator of the Decatur Hardware and General Merchandise store, decided to use his life savings of $8,000 to build a fine home for his wife and family. Since the stock market crashed shortly thereafter, Mr. Dunigan was regarded as a very wise man. Inn the Oaks is a historical treasure as it incorporates so many Tudor elements such as the rustic materials of stone, brick, faux half-timbering, and herringbone brickwork.
The Dunigan estate was owned by only two others as a personal residence before being renovated into a bed and breakfast inn by Randy and Lea Ann Rushing, and Pat and Diane O'Neil of Decatur.
The first of these was D.L. James, who was in land acquisitions. His wife Mrs. Cecil James worked at the Roxy Theater in Newton. The house was then inherited by their daughter Marijo Denson, where her family resided for many happy years. Marijo was known for her love of music and played the organ and piano at church for many years. Reminders of Marijo's love of music is abound in the Inn today.
The current owners, Garry and Wanda Pace, have purchased this lovely renovated estate and plan to continue providing a much needed service to visitors and residents. Efforts have been made to keep the unique and charming features of the elegant home with it's added modern amenities.
Jane Tillman, the innkeeper for Inn the Oaks, is a native of Neshoba County but grew up on the Gulf Coast. Jane states, "I really don't consider inn keeping being a job because I love cooking for people and taking care of others." An avid coffee drinker, Jane says, "All is right in my world when I have guests to cook for and my morning coffee."