By Published On: April 28, 2021Categories: History

The Crenshaw Guest House in Auburn is rich in history. The hospitality that travelers receive makes it one of the best bed and breakfast stops in Lee County. 

Whether it’s a college visit, a trip through the Southeast or an Auburn football Saturday that brings you there, the Crenshaw Guest House has accommodations for any type of stay. 

Located in Auburn’s North College Historic District, this Victorian-style house was built in 1890 by Auburn University (then Alabama Polytechnic Institute) professor Dr. Bolling Hall Crenshaw. For many years, Crenshaw, his wife Willie Ella Glenn and their two daughters shared the property with university students. 

Nestled among weeping oaks, maple trees and beautiful, vibrant landscaping, the house’s charming blue exterior, distinct bay windows and hanging porch swings initially draw guests to the door. 

Inside, 12-foot vaulted ceilings and golden-heart pine floors lend a proper welcome to all who visit and a series of intentional period décor highlight a relaxing and elegant atmosphere.

Thirty-six years after it was added to the National Register of Historic Places, current owners Jenny and Fred Nunnelley bought the Crenshaw Guest House in 2018. The Nunnelleys are sixth in a long line of owners who have built, modified and carried on the house’s legacy.

For over a half century after the home’s inception, Crenshaw and his family continued to share their residence with students. The property was then sold to William and Martha Hardie in 1942. It was during the Hardie’s 40-year ownership that the property fell into a state of disrepair. 

Following the Hardie’s, Frances and Peppi Verma took ownership of the house. As it happens, Frances was the granddaughter of Cliff Hare, a colleague of Crenshaw and an Auburn legend who was deeply involved with the academics, athletics and policymaking at API. 

It is said that Hare would frequently visit his friend’s house for an afternoon cup of tea. Thus, it is fitting that someone from his lineage would be who began the process of making the Crenshaw Guest House what it is today.

After four years of labor and remodeling, the Vermas gained approval to operate as a bed and breakfast in 1983. In May of 1985, the Crenshaw Guest House was officially opened for business.

The Vermas had the privilege of hosting many distinguished guests and would take on a number of property-improvement projects during the remainder of their time at the house, namely enclosing the rear porch and building the additional carriage house rooms which remain on the property today.

In 2008, George and Lynn Postell bought the property, carrying on the work of Peppi and Frances until they sold the home to Stephen and Sarah Jenkins in 2013. The Jenkins operated the house for just five years before the Nunnelleys bought it in 2018. 

Today, the Nunnelley’s work diligently to maintain the home’s historical artistry while at the same time moving it into the 21st century. 

“It’s been a lot of fun,” Jenny said. “We try to keep the rooms in keeping with the history of the house but incorporate modern amenities that most people expect and appreciate.” 

The house itself offers eight separate lodging suites that sleep between two to six guests. To match the Victorian architecture, rooms in the main house possess a more antique style as opposed to the more rustic feel of the four rooms on the back half of the property. 

On the first floor of the main house lies the Petrie Suite, the Hare Room and the Nichols Room. 

“The Nichols room is definitely my favorite place to nap in,” Jenny said. “But the Petrie room is probably my favorite. Its full of period antiques and I love how in keeping it is with the architecture of the house.” 

Upstairs is the Aubie Suite. It sleeps four, features a king size memory-foam sleeper sofa and offers guests more privacy than the other main-house rooms. 

On the back half of the property, both the Jordan and Samford Rooms have been recently updated to ensure maximum privacy and convenience.

The Pat Dye Cottage is a two-room, two-bathroom suite and is a great place for families with its two bunk beds built into the living area. There’s also a 400 square-foot deck, perfect for enjoying evening sunsets among 20-plus trees planted by the legendary Dye himself. 

Lastly, there’s the Thach Cottage. This rustic, pet friendly room can sleep four to five guests, and features two king beds, a twin bed and an upstairs loft. 

Each of the rooms offer something unique and allow visitors to have a different experience each time they stay. While the various allures that are inside the Crenshaw Guest House make it unique, it’s convenient location only adds to its appeal. 

“Being within walking distance to the university, the stadium, the downtown, all of that is obviously a big draw as well,” Jenny said.

The five-minute walk into the bustling city is perhaps bested only by the fresh-baked cookies that guests arrive and wake up to every day. 

“You can count on those every day when you’re there,” Jenny said.

Before the breakout of a world-wide pandemic, the house was typically packed on weekends, with Auburn football game days the most popular occasion for incoming visitors. 

The Crenshaw Guest House’s breakfast that overnighters receive is something the Nunnelley’s pride themselves on. 

“Breakfast is busy,” Jenny said. “But they are always happy, upbeat and full of energy.” 

A typical football Saturday morning sees Jenny up at 4:30 a.m., making coffee and preparing breakfast, which is served between 8-10 a.m. for an evening game. Guests would traditionally be fed in shifts with a full buffet at their disposal. However, now, most visitors choose to receive breakfast in their rooms. The Nunnelleys politely oblige. 

“But that’s a shame,” Jenny added. “Before COVID, part of the fun was you would get to meet the other people staying in the bed and breakfast. And there’s still opportunities for the guests to meet and mingle but obviously people are a lot more reluctant and a lot more spaced out.”

Whereas many things have changed over the last year, some things have stayed the same. For example, Jenny said she still eagerly looks forward to her favorite thing about the house: meeting new guests. 

“The most wonderful thing about the house is the relationships we have made,” Jenny added. “I feel like I have friends all over the country now that I wouldn’t have had otherwise.”

And while the Nunnelleys do not live at the Crenshaw House permanently, the full-time housekeeper helps them strive for one persistent goal. 

“I want [the guests] to feel welcome, pampered and part of the family,” Jenny said. 

In the three years the Nunnelleys have owned the property, they have worked hard to incorporate all the things that other bed and breakfasts have to offer while at the same time adding some personal touch. However, ultimately, Jenny knows there is one thing that separates their B&B from the pack. 

“I really feel like it’s the guests that visit Crenshaw that make it special,” Jenny said. 

To learn more about the Crenshaw Guest House or to book a stay, visit

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