Jefferson Inn & Area History
Southern Pines, North Carolina
… was founded in the late 1800’s by John Tyrant Patrick, following the construction of the railroad through the town’s current location. The warm climate and clean air began attracting many Northeasterners to the area. John S. Reynolds and his wife were among those who became enamored with the region. The couple ran a guesthouse known as the Cold Springs House during the summer months in their hometown of Jefferson, New Hampshire. They eventually built a winter home on New Hampshire Avenue in Southern Pines, a half-block from the train station in the center of town.
In 1901, Mr. Reynolds enlarged their winter haven by attaching the Hayes News Depot building, one of the oldest structures in Southern Pines, and opening it to the public as The Jefferson Inn. The Hayes building had been the center for all news and dry goods for the area, and was rolled to its current location on logs. It is now the kitchen for the inn’s dining room. Reynolds subsequently acquired the electric shop next door, adding it to the inn, and capped the three structures with a third floor.
Shortly after the turn of the century, the Town of Southern Pines commissioned Donald Ross to design and build a 27-hole golf course, which became known as Southern Pines County Club. The sport quickly became a favorite activity of guests, along with hunting and visiting local orchards.
The Reynolds were known for their holiday tables and the family atmosphere they created at The Jefferson Inn. They scheduled events and gatherings for the guests, many of whom were long-term residents. Their activities included card games, performing musicals, and organizing picnic outings to local lakes. They once even held a children’s theme party for adults. Recognized guests of The Jefferson Inn ranged from well-known golfers to accomplished authors, including famous female golfer Babe Zaharias, and Elise Lathrop, who wrote “Early Taverns & Inns in America.”
The restaurant at The Jefferson Inn was renowned locally throughout the twentieth century, and spawned several outstanding chefs. The inn’s courtyard has been a gathering place for locals and guests, and the setting for a variety of live music events, weddings, and other occasions over the years. The front porch was another popular local meeting spot. Thankfully, these traditions are as much alive today as they were in the past.
Until The Jefferson Inn closed for its 2006 renovation, it had been the oldest continually operating hotel in Southern Pines – possibly even in the Southern Pines, Pinehurst, and Aberdeen area. The current owner, who purchased the inn in late 2005, completed the historic restoration in early 2007. While the ambiance of the 100+ year-old inn, restaurant and tavern was maintained, the size of the guestrooms and suites was dramatically increased, and the accommodations were upgraded to combine the elegance and charm of the storied institution with the comforts and amenities of a fine boutique hotel. This will allow The Jefferson Inn to deliver an experience that no other in the region can boast – Today’s Luxury with Yesterday’s Charm.
A brief look at the Area’s History
While the central region of North Carolina known as the Sandhills had been settled by Highland Scots since the early 1700s, the area was at first slow to develop. The sandy soil could not produce many crops except the sprawling forests of pine trees, nor was it solid enough to allow easy travel by carriage. With the coming of the railroad in the mid-nineteenth century, however, everything changed.
Suddenly, the pine trees became a cash crop that could be easily harvested and shipped away as lumber and the people traveling through the area on the railroad between the North and Florida discovered Southern Pines as a convenient stopping point.
In 1884, John T. Patrick bought 675 acres of land for a grand total of $1,265, and began forming the town of Southern Pines. The very sandy soil that had hindered the area’s development for so long was in fact one of the causes of the Sandhills’ pleasant climate, which is drier and milder than the rest of the surrounding state. Patrick’s dream for the town – for it to be a health resort – relied on this lovely weather. Even though Patrick’s dream was never fully realized, the health aspect was the impetus for the early development of the town. Southern Pines quickly grew into a vibrant and prosperous community and became a favorite winter resort, especially for those seeking to escape the harsh weather of the north.
Southern Pines, North Carolina,
… adjacent to the Village of Pinehurst and the town of Aberdeen, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Its oak and magnolia lined streets are home to over thirty shops ranging from antique stores to ladies’ boutiques offering the latest in fashion. You will also find a variety of restaurants, including several with professionally trained and highly regarded chefs, an historic theatre, an ice cream shop, and most of the other homegrown businesses you would expect to find in an historic downtown environment.
With both a spa and gym conveniently located within walking distance, 43 golf courses and several tennis facilities nearby, you are sure to find plenty to keep you busy. In addition, the equestrian setting, with regularly scheduled steeplechases, jumping events and horse trials, provides the perfect backdrop for the experience.
The oldest home in Southern Pines, the Shaw House was built by Charles C. Shaw and his wife Mary when they settled in the Pine Barrens at the crossroads of Morganton and Pee Dee Roads in 1821. A first generation Scottish settler, Shaw acquired 2500 acres to farm and harvest timber for the production of naval stores. Land from this estate was purchased from his heirs for the establishment of Southern Pines.
One of his 12 children, Charles Washington (Squire Wash) Shaw, inherited and lived in the house, becoming the first mayor of Southern Pines in 1887. The house remained in the Shaw family until it was acquired in 1946 by the newly formed Moore County Historical Association in a grassroots effort to ensure its preservation.
The Shaw House property is open to visitors as an historic site. From the Pine Barrens to Shaw’s Ridge to Southern Pines, the Shaw House is a constant reminder of the legacy of the town and its transformation from an intersection of ancient Indian trails to a thriving community.
Rail service was critical to the development of the Sandhills region and the Town of Southern Pines. With the establishment of rail service into Moore County in the late 1800’s came the expansion of the production of naval stores from the vast pine forests of the region.
Then, as the area became denuded of trees, efforts were made to encourage settlement. The train brought John T. Patrick, founder of Southern Pines, to the area known as Shaw’s Ridge. He conceived the ideas of promoting the climate of the Sandhills to restore the health of consumptives and of building resort communities along the rail lines.
The Seaboard Airline Railway system supported his scheme and financed his tour of the North to promote the area first called Vineland and then renamed Southern Pines. The Seaboard Airline Railway constructed the current depot in 1898 and the station continues to serve passengers today via Amtrak.
Weymouth was established in 1903 by Pennsylvania coal baron James Boyd as a winter country retreat. Later, as the home of his grandson, noted author James Boyd, it served as a gathering place for many prominent authors of the 1920s and 30s. Rescued from demolition and restored by Friends of Weymouth, it is now the home of Weymouth Center for the Arts and Humanities.
When he inherited the property from his grandfather, James commissioned architect Aymar Embury II to create a design from his sketches, incorporating a wing of the original structure. Embury, a renowned New York architect, designed many of the early homes and public buildings in the Sandhills area.
Designed for entertaining and family life, the Boyd family tradition continues as Weymouth hosts wedding receptions, writers-in-residence, and community concerts.
The essence of downtown Southern Pines is embodied in its unique array of shops. This streetscape includes historic buildings that-over the years-have housed an assortment of businesses providing life’s necessities and pleasures in colorful and friendly style.
Downtown’s present vitality is linked to its historic boom in the 1920’s, when it first grew rapidly as a center of commerce and resort living.
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