In the first
decade of the 20th century Brevard had two large hotels, plus numerous small hotels
and boarding houses.
John McMinn built
the Aethelwold Hotel on the corner of Main and Broad streets around 1900. It could accommodate close to 100 guests and
offered all the modern services with a café, grocer, barber shop, and other
amenities on the main floor. The rooms
were large and sunny and afforded a view of the town and the mountains beyond.
|The main entrance to the Waltermire Hotel Lobby
was on the west side of the building from Broad Street.
reportedly cost over $30,000 to construct.
After McMinn died in 1918 his heirs sold the property at auction to
Thomas W. Whitmire for $22,550. Whitmire
renamed it the Waltermire Hotel in memory of his son Walter, who died in
served as Brevard’s mayor three different times for a total of 14 years. He owned several different businesses
including a dry goods store, a grocery, and Whitmire Motor Company in both
Asheville and Brevard. Whitmire also had a connection to Brevard’s
other large hotel, the Franklin.
|The spacious lobby of the Franklin Hotel
offered comfortable seating areas for guests.
Hotel, built by J. Frances Hays about 1900 on East Main St., was surrounding by
an expansive lawn, acres of trees, a bridal path, and a small lake. The large Y shaped building included a
20-foot wide veranda where guests could enjoy the cool summer evenings. The hotel occupancy was approximately
150. It had 60 rooms, most with private
In 1909 Hays
sold the hotel and 80 acres to the Franklin Park Improvement Company for about
$35,000. Thomas W. Whitmire was one of
the partners in this company. They laid
out lots and streets and began the development of the area around the
hotel. In 1911 they sold the Franklin
Hotel and eight and a half acres to new owners.
A few homes
were constructed on the reminder of the property at that time but it was not
until the mid-1940s that the Franklin St. area really began to develop. In 1945 it was reported that development would begin on “about 80 acres
in the hotel grounds, and every purchaser of a lot for $500 will be required to
build on same within two years and no residence is to cost less than $2000.” The development company consisted of four of the five original Franklin Park Improvement Company members including Whitmire, A.J. Hilt, C.H. Robinson, and F.J. Robinson.
and information for this column are provided by the Rowell Bosse North Carolina
Room, Transylvania County Library. Visit
the NC Room during regular library hours (Monday-Friday) to learn more about
our history and see additional photographs.
For more information, comments or suggestions contact Marcy at [email protected]