|The Darlington Inn, a boarding house on East Main St.,
operated from about 1910-1955.
Boarding houses were a vital
part of the local economy from the late 1800s through the mid-1900s.
Tourism brochures dating from around
1907 through 1929 invite “vacationists” to relax in the small-town comforts of
Brevard and Transylvania County. Although there were several larger hotels
including the Aethelwold and Franklin Inn in Brevard and Lake Toxaway Inn, many
visitors choose to stay at the less expensive and homier boarding houses. Rates ranged from $5.00-15.00 per week and
Boarding houses provided a home-like
atmosphere with fresh, wholesome meals in settings ranging from stately town
homes to quiet country places. The houses
were large and had large rooms. Families
could stay in one room or have a suite of rooms depending on their needs. Many also offered sleeping porches to enjoy
the cool, fresh mountain air at night. Amenities
included electric lights, modern plumbing with baths, and telephone service. The emphasis was on healthy living. Most of their time was spent outdoors or at
Changing lifestyles and
improvements to the roads and transportation introduced new expectations for
the ideal vacation by mid-century. Tourists
were looking for more privacy and freedom. Tourist or motor courts provided a room with a
private bath and parking. Guests set
their own schedules for meals and could come and go at their leisure.
Beginning in 1940s Brevard
saw a boom of tourist courts and roadside motels. Tourist courts were a group of
small separate cabins for travelers.
They typically included a bedroom and bathroom, and sometimes a
kitchenette. The Pisgah Motor Court on
Hendersonville Highway opened in the mid-1940s and was among the early tourist
courts in Transylvania County.
Other local tourist courts
during the 1950s and 1960s included Cascade Cabins on Cascade Lake in Little
River, Flamingo Motel on the Asheville Highway, Mt. Toxaway Lodge and Cabins, Rockwood
Motor Court in Penrose, and White Swan Motor Court on the Asheville Highway.
|Today the only local mid-century motel still operating is
the Sunset Motel on South Broad St.
Motels offered the
accommodations of tourist courts under one roof, typically rooms were accessed
from the outside. Many motels also
offered air conditioning, television and heated swimming pools. The Deerfield Motel (later Brevard Motor
Lodge) on N. Caldwell St. opened in 1954.
This was followed by the Sunset Motel on S. Broad St., Forest Gate Motel in Pisgah Forest and the Imperial Motor Lodge on the Asheville Highway.
Today Bed-and-Breakfast inns, which combine the home-style atmosphere boarding houses and privacy of motels, are
popular with many tourists and a vital piece of the local economy. According to the Transylvania/Brevard Chamber of
Commerce there are currently nine B&Bs in the county with rates from $85-225 per night.
Photographs 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] or 828-884-3151 X242.