Welcome to
Alleghany Springs Hotel
P.O. Address Mint, Tennessee

Some History Page 02

                Provisions were made for croquet, tennis, bowling, dancing, fishing, boating, and driving. A wide two-story veranda extending the full length of the building and furnished a lovely panorama of the countryside for the rocking chair brigade, and for the card players. Daily mail connections were provided which also furnished passenger service to Maryville. Medical services were furnished by a resident physician, as was common in resort hotels. Rates were listed as two dollars per day, five dollars weekly, and forty dollars by the month.

                “Benches” or flat places on the mountainside nearby were used to raise garden and truck produce for the kitchen in season.

                The parlor was on the second floor. It was luxuriously furnished in golden brown upholstered love seats, divans and chairs. The prisms on the crystal chandeliers reflected rainbows over the rosewood piano, the Brussels carpet and the rich brocade drapes. Bedsteads, marble topped washstands, dressers and tables of walnut were used throughout the hotel, except for the Bridal Suite, which was furnished in cherry. In fact, all the appointments of the hotel were of the very best for that day. The ballroom, on the ground floor could accommodate fifty to one hundred couples and had ample room for the orchestra and spectator (there were always a goodly number of outsiders peeking through the screen from behind the shrubbery.)

                In the office, there was a large safe that required seven or eight yokes of oxen to haul it up the mountain (some say more.) This safe was used to store valuables, which included several dozen sets of table silver, a large silver pitcher and dozens of silver goblets, as well as large serving pieces. The remains of this safe are all that survived the fire that destroyed the hotel.

                The guests had their choice of iron, sulphur or freestone water. The Yellow Sulphur Spring was beside the drive around the side of the mountain. The “Medical” spring was in the ravine to the left of the hotel. It was also called the “Eye” or Beauty Spring, because the small amount of arsenic in the water caused the eyes to become puffy, which was the signal to stop drinking the water. Soon the old skin peeled off and left a beautiful new skin (hence beauty). A small sulphur spring was at the foot of the steps to the hotel. The freestone water was piped from the mountainside above.                 

A news item stated that the Jones Brothers Orchestra, composed of Charles, Sr., Ole Bull, and Moultrie had been engaged to furnish music for the opening dance. They are specifically named again in an 1898 news item. Some of the Jones family also “made music” for the Fox Hunters Conventions in the nineteen twenties and thirties.  

When Allegheny Springs Hotel was opened, R.L. Belt and Josh R. Jones operated a store or commissary at the Yellow Sulphur Spring. The store and bathhouse were near the spring. There were three cabin units here and another group of three double cabins and a couple of singles further down the drive. After the hotel was closed these cabins were rented for the season as long as they were kept in repair. The Ballroom was also available for parties.  

                Business was good for several years and guests came from as far away as Memphis and Arkansas according to the surviving fragments of the guest register. However the invest did not show enough profit and the bank called in the loan. Nathan McCoy bowed out of the hotel business and retired to his grape vineyards, which he had planted nearby, and conducted a prosperous business in wines until the state “revenuers” convinced him that his operation was illegal.

                In 1895, the hotel property was in the hands of a receiver pending sale in Chancery Court. The Bank of Maryville held the property for a while. The hotel continued operation under various managers, and built up a large clientele from Knoxville and the surrounding area. When the Louisville and Nashville Railroad was completed in about this time, they established Allegheny Station (now Greenback) for the convenience of people who came by train to Allegheny. Guests were met by the hotel “Hack” and taken across country to the hotel. The cabins were reported full in 1898.

                John T. Hanlin and wife of Jay County, Indiana bought the property and operated the hotel for several seasons, which were not too profitable. The property was mortgaged to Dr. James Martin, who turned the property over to Mrs. Lydia Hanlin in 1907.

                The hotel continued to open under various managers until 1915. In the later years reservations were handled by Luther Williams of Knoxville. Reservations may have been available for groups during the war years and after, but no information is available concerning this.

                The hotel burned December 16, 1932 and in 1933 the County Court Clerk of Knox County transferred the property to Dr. Joe E. Hall of Loudon County, and it is now the property of his heirs.                 

  The era of the “Watering Palace” is one of the more glamorous chapters in our past. There are many hobbies and pastimes, which were an integral part of a way of life, which is fading into the sunset. One of these pastimes is closely connected to the closing days of Alleghany Springs. Not many men of today would answer the “call of the wild” , and brave the elements to call up the dogs and take off to the mountains to spend the night sitting around a campfire on the mountainside until dawn, with a few kindred spirits, drinking black coffee (sometimes laced with moonshine), swapping yarns and listening to the dogs “run” and figuring out which dog was in the lead and where they were headed. Like horse owners, they loved to brag about the merits of their prize animals and compare their advantages over the rest of the pack.  
               Sometime during the “Roaring Twenties, as a release from the unrest of the War years and the aftermath, a group of avid fox hunters drawn together by their mutual love of the outdoors and the thrill of the hunt, began to meet in the Alleghany area, because of the ideal terrain. They organized themselves, informally as The Fox Hunters and met formally once a year. Dr. Joe Hall seems to have been the leader of the group. Dr. Lloyd Prater was a devoted follower, as were “Fox Hunting Bill” Hall and his sons, Coy Best, the Hitches-George and James, Bill Wells, several Brewers, Sam Howard, Gus and Leslie Steele, Mack Sparks and numerous others. A large delegation came across the river from Monroe County as well as from other neighboring communities. It was the big affair of the Season. alleghany-wogarner.jpg

Alleghany Falls

                In October, about the time of the Harvest Moon, men on foot with flour sacks slung over their shoulders and their hounds on leashes began arriving.  They were joined by others who came by mule, by horse, in buggies and in wagons. Some came early in the week, but by Thursday or Friday everybody had arrived and the fun began. A cabin just off the trail up the mountain served as headquarters, and a well-equipped kitchen served “fast food.”

                The grand finale of the convention was the Square Dance on Saturday night. Earl Hall, the oldest son of “Fox Hunting Bill”, who had called the dances at the hotel for years, directed the dance (his son Ed was taught the fine points of the dance at an early age on the Ball room floor at Alleghany, and is now one of the best known callers in the region). Some of the Jones clan were always present to “make music” for the dance. This affair always attracted a large crowd, which included the families and friends of the Fox Hunters, as well as local spectators.

                When the Hotel burned in 1932 the closing dance was no longer possible. The Fox Hunters continued to meet for a few seasons at Dr. Hall’s cabin, which was nearer the foot of the mountain, but interest gradually died out, at least for a large organized group, and so closed another chapter of Americana in the midst of the Great Depression.