The Railroad Comes To Blue Ridge
The original “Kincaid House” was built in 1890 by a gentleman named Sylvester Long. Long worked for the L&N railroad company supervising rail construction crews. The railroad industry was booming in the South and Blue Ridge was a major connecting point. Long hired a local carpenter named York to build the house on a lot just a few hundred feet from the train depot. By 1891, the house was completed with all the latest conveniences of the day. The ornamental trim, finishing work and banisters were made by hand. This fine craftsmanship still exists throughout the house today.
Following the Panic of 1893, many rail companies went bust due to overbuilding and questionable financing. This set off a series of bank failures over the next decade and hard times hit the south. The Long family moved to Etowah, Tennessee when the shops closed in 1906. The Sanborn Fire Map of 1909 indicates that the home was “temporarily used as a hotel” and notes on the 1910 census refer to it as the “Spring Water Hotel”.
The Kincaid Era
James Kincaid bought the building in 1909 for the sum of $2,500. He chose this house because, unlike several other houses up for sale at that time, it had indoor plumbing; a rare amenity for the time. James Kincaid was the first Ordinary of Fannin County. This old fashioned term meant he was in charge of the Probate Court that dealt with wills and estates. When living in Morganton in 1854, he donated the land for the first county court house. The Kincaid family lived here after his death. Daughter Bana and her brother never married and resided in the house until their deaths.
In 1996 the home was purchased by Milton Darden who converted it into a bed and breakfast. The three-story, Victorian home features 8 guest rooms and suites, 8 fireplaces, 12-foot ceilings, original hand-carved woodwork, heart of pine floors, and claw foot tubs. The Darden’s ran the Inn until 2012.
In 2016, new owners purchased the Inn from the Watts who had owned the Inn from 2012-2016 after purchasing it from the Dardens. Gene Holcombe, along with innkeepers John and Mark, spent five years turning the inn into the smartest Victorian home this side of the Mississippi River. He brought state of the art technology to this 130 year old residence and its grounds, improved infrastructure and set it on a path of becoming the mountain getaway that it is today.
The Inn Today
In 2021, the new owner and innkeeper, John Lavin, purchased the Inn from Gene Holcombe. Renewing the inn while staying true to the history and tradition of the venerable home, John brings a long history of hospitality and design with him to Blue Ridge. Having grown up in nearby Chattanooga, he spent several decades traveling hither and yon collecting the experiences that would eventually lead him back to the Southern Appalachians and this new chapter in the long history of this old house.