This photograph shows the size the Franklin Hotel from the front.

Large wings of both sides of the back created a V shaped building.

The Franklin Hotel opened in Brevard in July 1900.  J. Frances Hayes and his business partners
had purchased the Hendersonville-Brevard Railway Telegraph and Telephone Company,
renamed it Transylvania Railroad Company and planned to expand the line beyond
Brevard.  They agreed to construct a luxury
hotel in Brevard to garner support for a $25,000 bond to aid in financing the rail
line extension.

The 80-acre property included tennis courts and a small
lake in a park-like setting.  The hotel,
which could accommodate 150-20
0 guests, had a large veranda where cool evenings
could be enjoyed.  There was regularly an
orchestra and dancing.

Franklin Hotel Dining Room.

An early tourism brochure described it as, “thoroughly
modern and luxurious in appointments and furnishings, and ranks as one of the
best resort hotels in America.  It
occupies the highest point in Brevard, and is surrounded by a park of eighty
acres, overlooking in the French Broad river and valley.  Every room is an outside room with a pleasant
outlook and commanding view of mountain and valley, and many are arranged en
suite, with private bath, for families.”

Carl Schenck states in his book, Birth of Forestry in
, “rooms with real baths were obtainable, and my frequent overnight
stays in Brevard ceased to be disturbed by fleas, bedbugs, and rats.”

Despite the wonderful accolades the hotel was sold four
times by 1909.  In January 1909 T.W.
Whitmire and other investors purchased the property.   Lots
from the hotel’s 80 acres were to be sold for $500 each.  Conditions for lot purchase included building
a residence costing at least $2000 on the property within 2 years.

Over the next 40 years the hotel changed hands numerous
times.  In 1919 J.C. and H.W. Wooten
purchased the hotel with plans to update and improve it.  In 1925 additional improvements were made,
including a two-story addition to the east wing and a screened porch on the
back.  In 1936 it was announced that
steam heat would be added to allow for winter guests as well.

By the late 1940’s the old hotel was showing its
age.  For several years Miss Annie
Shipman was the manager.  Transylvania
Times articles show that it was open for summer visitors at least through the
1949 season.

September 17, 1950 the congregation of the Brevard-Davidson River Presbyterian
Church voted to purchase the hotel and 7 acres. 
The hotel dining room became the sanctuary, bedrooms were converted into
Sunday School classrooms, and a new Manse was built behind the old hotel.  In March 1956 the old hotel was torn down to
make way for construction of the current church. 

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.

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(828) 884-3151

212 S Gaston St, Brevard, NC 28712