yesterday's tennessee

Yesterday's Tennessee

Hinson Springs Hotel Burns - 1913

compiled by Brenda Kirk Fiddler

From Brenda Kirk Fiddler, ed., W. V. Barry's Lexington Progress 1884-1946, Brenda and Charles Fiddler, Lexington, Tennessee, 1995

The northwest view of the main entrance of Hinson Springs Hotel completed in 1910 at a cost of $40,000.  The well known summer resort burned to the ground May 29, 1913.

Hinson Springs Hotel Handsome Structure at Well Known Summer Resort Burned to the Ground with Practically all Furnishings:

June 6, 1913:

On Thursday afternoon of last week, May 29th, at 3 o'clock or a little after, the handsome hotel structure at Hinson Springs, on the Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis Railway, two miles West of Lexington, was accidentally burned to the ground. The accident was deplorable, coming as it did just on the eve of the summer opening and when the newness of the building had scarcely become dimmed. The cause of the fire was one which could hardly be anticipated and the accident which brought it about seemingly an unavoidable one. The light and water plants of the hotel were run by a gasoline engine and as the opening was close at hand it was necessary to make a "try out" to see if the light wires and water pipes were in condition for use. This "try out" was being done when it was supposed that wires were crossed in the attic, with the possibility that the insulating had been disturbed thereon, causing ignition, "kicked back" on the engine, causing an explosion and so rapidly did the fire spread that fear of falling floors, etc., prevented otherwise possible efforts to save the valuable furnishings of the more than seventy-five rooms. Notwithstanding the structure was massively built, the entire house burned to the ground in forty-five minutes.

The location of Hinson Springs is almost as old as the town of Lexington which was founded in the year 1822. The late Mrs. W. C. (Louise) McHaney, who died several years ago, having passed the age of eighty, remembered having visited the spring when she was a young lady. There was for many years even before the Civil War, a house on the site, but the first real hotel was erected in 1874 by Joe Hinson from whom the resort gets its name. That house was burned in 1882. Erection of the next building was begun in 1894, after the building of several cottages by J. N. Hall, and was completed for the opening of the season of 1895. After running two seasons by J. H. Long, who built the house, it was burned on the first Monday in October, 1896. Rebuilt at once by J. H. Long, the place was run by Long and others until four years ago, when the property was purchased by the Hinson Springs Hotel Company and the spacious and handsome building which burned last week was put up and furnished at a cost approximating $40,000. We are informed that the loss in the recent fire was some $36,000, with about half or $20,000 insurance. The site of Hinson Springs is an ideal summer resort and the water unsurpassed from any and all standpoints, being abundant, palatable and healthful. As a resort properly run and wisely advertised, it could be made one of the best in the State or the South.

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