'Beatles House' history runs deep
BY BECKY MALKOVICH, THE SOUTHERN
Thursday, November 16, 2006
The Hard Day's Night Bed and Breakfast, located at 113 McCann St. in Benton, Illinois, USA.
BENTON - Money may not buy Sarah Morrison love, but it could give her a renewed sense of purpose and an outlet for her creativity.
With the purchase Wednesday of the Hard Day's Nite Bed and Breakfast, Morrison, 23, is now the proud proprietor of one of Benton's most acclaimed claims to fame, the former home of Louise Harrison, sister of the late Beatle George Harrison.
Harrison was a resident of Benton back in pre-Beatlemania 1963. Her brother spent about three weeks in the home that fall, just a few months before the Beatles made their debut on "The Ed Sullivan Show."
While in Benton, the first Beatle ever to set foot on American soil enjoyed his stay in the Franklin County city, playing with area musicians and hanging at the local hotspots.
As a result, some Fab Four fans were distraught when the home was purchased for a nearby state office building and destined to become a parking lot, said Robert S. Rea, local businessman and historian who played an active role in stopping the demolition.
"Benton is rich in history with a lot of regional themes, but this was of international interest," Rea said. "The Beatles were one of the top icons of the last century. Their role in defining the culture is well known. We didn't want to see something of this import destroyed."
Enter Jim and Daryl Chady and Connie and Dorothy Schultz. The two Benton couples purchased the house and opened a bed and breakfast and Beatles museum in 1996.
Over the years, many hundreds of people from all over the world have visited the building, known locally as the "Beatles House," marveling at the collection of Beatles memorabilia amassed by the owners - some from Harrison's sister.
After almost 11 years, the Chadys and Schultzes decided to sell the property.
"It's that three-letter word," said Connie Schultz. "A-g-e. But it's been a hoot. We've met a lot of people and been enlightened on many subjects outside of the Beatles spectrum. I've learned to appreciate people more and have developed a much more 'funsy' attitude. Life is fun."
Jim Chady said running the bed and breakfast was "very exciting. I've really enjoyed it."
The new proprietor is a Beatle fan "born and raised," she said. "I grew up listening to them."
Morrison's mother had traveled to the bed and breakfast a few times and asked her if she'd like to come with her on a visit.
"I was looking around, making small talk and enjoying the environment and the way everything was presented. And they (the owners) were talking about how they were ready to retire. It just seemed like it was meant to be. They wanted to hand it over and I was looking for some purpose," said Morrison, who attended the American Academy of Art.
On the whole ride back to their home in Morris, the Morrisons brainstormed, coming up with ideas on how to get the bed and breakfast and what they would do to it if they got it.
"My poor dad, he heard an earful when we got home. We were just so excited by the potential," Morrison said.
In addition to the Beatles bed and breakfast, Morrison purchased the house next door. The front half of that house will be dedicated to all things Beatle while the back will be her own living space.
She is excited about the prospects of living and working in the local Beatle world. "The Beatles shook the world. Their message of love can be adopted by and relates to everyone," she said. "I'm hyperexcited."
Morrison will continue operation of the four-bedroom bed and breakfast. For more information, visit www.harddaysnitebnb.com