Altitude: 2,655 feet
A souvenir booklet of a visit in 1922 to the Champion Fibre Company’s plant at Canton, N.C., noted that the company operated two “modern band-saw mills” in western North Carolina, one at Smokemont in the Great Smoky Mountains and the other at Waynesville. At that time, the Waynesville mill produced 25,000 feet of lumber each day and twice that amount in pulp wood.
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This late 1920s brochure for Waynesville, North Carolina, compiled by the Chamber of Commerce, featured “Hotels, Apartments, and Inns -- A List of Accommodations.” By this time, the brochure listed two prominent means for visitors to reach the town. As in the heyday of the railway, it noted that “Waynesville is the highest incorporated railroad town in Eastern America” and yet it also stressed that the “chief national highways” provided access. It also promoted its stance as “the nearest gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.” A notable piece of information that can be detected from the accommodations list is the number of women who are named as the operators of the lodgings.
Built in 1890 and enlarged in 1910, the Hotel Gordon was a substantial structure, as seen in a line drawing from this late 1920s brochure. Automobiles are parked in front of the hotel and the brochure notes that “Waynesville is easily accessible by all motor highways and North Carolina’s highways are famous in their perfection.” Rates at this time ranged from $5.00 to $9.00 a day, but with “liberal deductions” on weekly or monthly stays. According to the brochure, the hotel offered an impressive array of amenities to its guests. Local foods, such as milk from a neighboring dairy and fresh produce, were used in its dining room. The brochure notes that the hotel was located within easy transit to neighboring features, such as the fact that Lake Junaluska was only two and a half miles away. Among other amenities were an orchestra, the surrounding scenery, the climate, and the hospitality of the people of Waynesville. In a resounding summation of the hotel as a destination, the brochure claims:
“It seems as if Nature set apart this spot for recreation and landscaped it majestically for the enjoyment of man. And man has added to the attractions. He has built fine motor highways along these rugged mountains. He has cut delightful paths through the forest for hiking or horseback riding. He has dammed rivers – creating wonderful lakes of surpassing charm and beauty. He has laid out golf courses where the natural hazards make them extremely sporty. He has cultivated the fertile valleys which yield abundant crops of succulent vegetables which appease jaded appetites and aid in bringing back strength to worn bodies. He has provided a hotel with all the attending comforts, conveniences and entertaining features which round out a vacation and cause one to wish that summer days and nights might last forever, especially if spent in such a pleasing environment.”
A fire in 1957 destroyed the building.
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An article from the June 27, 1929, issue of the Mountaineer (Waynesville, N.C.) announced plans for dances accompanied by an orchestra at two of Waynesville’s hotels, including the Hotel Gordon. The article stressed the importance of the local community in the success of these events and commented that,
“This is an expensive undertaking for two small hotels so the success of the project depends a great deal on the cooperation they receive from those living in the community. These two dances with such an unusual orchestra will be an entertainment for our summer visitors worthy of consideration and therefore should have the support of our local people.”
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