Lake residents open their historic homes

By Jessi Stone | Jul 05, 2013
Photo by: Jessi Stone People make their way up to see Betty Swarthout's prayer room located at her home at 120 Atkins Loop at Lake Junaluska.

Four historic home owners opened up their doors to the public Tuesday during the Lake Junaluska Centennial Week Tour of Homes.

Sponsored by the Lake Junaluska Woman's Club, the event allowed the public to tour six of the original 11 historic homes still standing on Atkins Loop — where it all began in 1913.

The first home on the tour and the first home built at Lake Junaluska was 334 Atkins Loop, which was built by C.E. Weatherby Sr. The home now belongs to Virginia McNair.

The second home was 49 Atkins Loop. Providence Lodge was built in 1915 and has given Lake Junaluska guests a place to stay for many years. the lodge features 16 unique rooms that still have the same charm they had in the early days when rooms rented for $2 a day.

Guests can relax in a large living room area or in the beautiful reading nook downstairs. The lodge also has a dining room area and breakfast or brunch is included in an overnight stay. The current owner Carol Clark purchased the Lodge in 2005 and still rents out the lodge to groups and individuals.

She said she has made many improvements including updating all the bedding and linens. The Lodge also has a new manager Pat Puckett who has 10 years experience owning her own bed and breakfast. She said she spends a lot of time in the kitchen at the Lodge and enjoys every minute of it.

"I love to cook," she said. "and we make everything from scratch in the kitchen."

Art and Betty Swarthout's home at 120 Atkins Loop was also included on the tour. Eleanor Roosevelt was believed to have tea at this home during her visit to the lake. The 1914 home was built for W.F. Quillian and the Swarthout's are only the third owner. They purchased the home in 1972 and did a lot of renovating while preserving the history of the home.

Betty said they tried to use as many parts of the original home as possible when making improvements. For example, the original front door is now on the back door. But the Swarthouts also have made it their own by adding a small cabin on the property to give Art a place for his writing and to make kaleidoscopes. Betty also has a small cabin retreat called her prayer house.

Neil and Norma Jean Dobson now own the home at 158 Atkins Loop. This is the house where Roosevelt slept during her lake visit. Norma Jean said the home is highlighted in a book of architecture along with five other Junaluska homes. The walls and flooring are made of chestnut and the rock fireplace is on of a kind.

The craftsman bungalow was built in 1919 for D.S. Maffett and the Dobsons bought it 41 years ago. It remains only a summer home since it doesn't have a heating source other that the fireplace.

The last stop on the tour was 232 Atkins Loop. Now owned by Dan and Louisa Suggs, the 1913 home was built for Irby Roland Hudon. As many original houses, it does not have any closets and the kitchen and baths were added later.

Visitors on the tour then returned to 979 N. Lakeshore Drive, known today as the The Sunset Inn. The inn was built for Bishop James Atkins, principal founder of the Southern Assembly.