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Hales Springs Inn

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McKinney Tavern; Hale Springs Hotel
1824–1825. 110 W. Main St.
  • North facade (Photograph by Gray Stothart)
  • North facade and east elevation (Photograph by Gray Stothart)
  • (Photograph by Gray Stothart)
  • Main hall, first floor (Photograph by Gray Stothart)
  • (Photograph by Gray Stothart)
  • (Photograph by Gray Stothart)

The Hale Springs Inn is located on a commercial block in downtown Rogersville. One of the oldest towns in Tennessee, it was settled in the early 1780s by an Irishman named Joseph Rogers, who subsequently built a log-and-stone inn known as the Rogers Tavern in 1786. Competition arrived in 1824 when John McKinney, a local lawyer, built the Hale Springs Inn adjacent to a much-used stagecoach route running through Rogersville to Knoxville. Unlike the smaller Rogers Tavern, in which guests usually had to share a room, McKinney’s massive, three-story building had individual guest rooms on more than one floor. It is one of the oldest hostelries in the state, in nearly continuous use since 1825.

The Federal-style building sits close to the road, its symmetrical main facade defined by eight-over-eight windows surmounted by jack arches, and a low-pitched roof with a traceried dormer. While the second story is typical of the Federal style, featuring a pedimented doorway with an arched fanlight and reeded pilasters, the first-story entry is more Greek Revival in style, with sidelights and a transom. Much of the interior woodwork is original.

Three United States presidents are known to have stayed at the Hale Springs Inn during the nineteenth century, including James K. Polk and Andrew Johnson. President Andrew Jackson stayed at the inn not long after its completion, addressing a crowd from the impressive balcony above the entrance and, most likely, having a drink or two in the tavern bar located on the first floor.

During the Civil War, Rogersville, like other northeastern Tennessee towns, was occupied at different times by Union and Confederate troops. Union forces used the Hale Springs Inn as their headquarters. After the war, however, the Inn returned to hospitality service. Renamed the Hale Springs Hotel in 1884, it served tourists en route to the well-known hot mineral springs about fifteen miles north of Rogersville.

Though new owner Captain Carl Netherland-Brown restored the Inn in 1985, profits declined in the following decade and the Inn closed its doors in 1998. Almost immediately, Rogerville’s Main Street retailers suffered a widespread economic downturn. Hoping to save the Inn and the town, the Rogersville Heritage Association purchased the building in 2003, granting the premises to the town, in trust, for a period of twenty years beginning in 2005. A Transportation Enhancement grant was used to pay for renovation of the Inn between 2007 and 2009. The Hale Springs Inn reopened in 2009 with nine guest rooms, a restaurant, and a bar.

References

Beasley, Ellen, “Rogersville Historic District”, Hawkins County, Tennessee. National Register of Historic Places Inventory–Nomination Form, 1973. National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C.

“County History - Hawkins County, TN.” Hawkins County, Tennessee. Accessed October 7, 2015. http://www.hawkinscountytn.gov/.

“History of the Inn.” Hale Springs Inn. Accessed October 7, 2015. http://halespringsinn.com/.

“Rogers Tavern.” Rogersville Heritage Association. Accessed October 7, 2015. http://www.rogersvilleheritage.org/.

Rogersville Heritage Association. Hale Springs Inn - Est. 1824. Rogersville, TN: Rogersville Heritage Association, 2014.

“Town History - Rogersville, Tennessee Rogersville, Tennessee.” Rogersville, Tennessee. Accessed October 7, 2015. http://www.townofrogersville.com/.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Gray Stothart
Coordinator: 
Gavin Townsend
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Data

Timeline

  • 1824

    Built
  • 2009

    Rear ell rebuilt

Citation

Gray Stothart, "Hales Springs Inn", [Rogersville, Tennessee], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/TN-01-073-0037.

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