The beast hulking over the Dedmans’ lives is Aspen Hall Manor, a Greek Revival house built in 1840 with massive white columns and magnolia trees blooming in front. It’s on the National Register of Historic Places and tour of Harrodsburg’s most impressive structures.
Jill and Anthony Romero of California bought Aspen Hall in 2005, announcing their intentions to operate it as a tea room and bed and breakfast. Increasingly over the years, much to the Dedmans’ consternation, Aspen Hall has become a weekend party palace, the site of weddings, fraternity gatherings, even a prom, all with approval from the powers that be.
“We’re all legal and that’s all I have to say,” Jill Romero tells a reporter. “We don’t comment to the press.”
From the beginning, the Dedmans have ranted and raved, called police repeatedly, filed complaints and lawsuits, spent thousands of dollars, been publicly ridiculed, alienated friends and family, and lost untold hours of sleep — not to mention some portion of their sanity — only to be thwarted at every turn.
Aspen Hall carries on, undeterred, while the Dedmans continue to stew and scheme and document transgressions, hoping to finally find the weak spot that will bring the dragon down.
Curry Dedman keeps a trash bag full of beer cans and empty liquor bottles in his garage. He says he picked them up from his property after a recent weekend of activity at Aspen Hall. “I’ve been saving this just to show somebody the kind of stuff we have to put up with,” he tells a reporter.
He says that he and his wife have been “ostracized” and “crucified” by many in the community for their ceaseless efforts against Aspen Hall. Friends now avoid them, tired of the endless venting. Many think the establishment is an asset that brings visitors and revenue to town, though nobody would want to live in such close proximity to it, he says.
A visit to the Dedmans’ nicely landscaped and well manicured home — built in 1938 by Dedman’s grandfather — engenders sympathy for their plight.
Though their home faces Beaumont Avenue, the only vehicle access to it is from the rear, off of Aspen Hall Drive, a dead-end street that contains a fire lane but is otherwise poorly marked.
Weddings held at the hall often spill out the front door and into an open lot across the street owned by the Romeros. Dedman has dozens of pictures of chairs set up in the middle of the street, bridal processions blocking traffic, participants' vehicles he claims are illegally parked and other obstacles that at times make it impossible for the Dedmans toaccess their home's driveway.
Leslie Dedman says she has awoken during the middle of the night to find drunken guests sitting in her patio furniture or wandering through the yard. If the Dedmans work in their yard on weekends, they are often antagonized by guests who stare menacingly from the parking lot, she said.
If they do operate a leaf blower or call police during an event, they are blasted in letters to the editor of the local paper for being party poopers bent on sabotaging the special moments of innocent guests who have nothing to do with their feud with the Romeros.
Dedman produces a picture of a sign posted on the side of Aspen Hall reading “Get a life.” It’s obvious who the message was intended for, he says.
The charged air created by the sour relationship produces a tension that sometimes borders on scary, the Dedmans say.
“I’m afraid of them,” Leslie Dedman admits. “This is the worst nightmare anyone can imagine. I just hope it can be settled without someone being hurt.”