Historic Gatlinburg Inn Recognized For Excellence In Historic Preservation

Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Pictured from left, Logan Coykendall (CEO, Hospitality Solutions), Allen Barker (one of the owners of The Historic Gatlinburg Inn), Cherel Henderson (ETHS director), Gary Bailey (GM of The Historic Gatlinburg Inn), Amelia Sweeney and Davy Thomas (COO, Hospitality Solutions)
Pictured from left, Logan Coykendall (CEO, Hospitality Solutions), Allen Barker (one of the owners of The Historic Gatlinburg Inn), Cherel Henderson (ETHS director), Gary Bailey (GM of The Historic Gatlinburg Inn), Amelia Sweeney and Davy Thomas (COO, Hospitality Solutions)

The Historic Gatlinburg Inn received the Community History Award from the East Tennessee Historical Society (ETHS). The ETHS annual Awards of Excellence were presented at the organization’s Annual Meeting on May 6,  at the East Tennessee History Center in downtown Knoxville. Each year the society recognizes individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the preservation, programming and interpretation of the region’s history.  These awards have been presented annually since 1982.

The Inn received the Community History Award for preserving the history of Gatlinburg. Built in 1937 by R. L. Maples, Sr. this historic inn remains in the hands of the Maples descendants and is the oldest lodging facility in Gatlinburg. It was the first home of the Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce, the town’s first bank and newspaper and was featured in the 1970 movie, “A Walk in the Spring Rain,” starring Ingrid Bergman and Anthony Quinn.

Mr. Allen Barker, who accepted the award on behalf of all the owners of the Inn, thanked the East Tennessee Historical Society for the award.  He also thanked the city leaders of Gatlinburg for their support on the preservation of this historic property, the staff of the hotel and Hospitality Solutions and, especially, the many guests without whom Gatlinburg Inn would not have thrived since 1937.

The Gatlinburg Inn was built in 1937 by R.L. Maples Sr., whose family had moved from the nearby Sugarlands after selling their property to the National Park Service for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which fully opened in 1940.

The Inn went through several expansions and a remodeling in the early 1960s to its present alpine motif. The hotel’s David Crockett Tavern was one of the finest restaurants in Gatlinburg. The property includes the 60-year-old Sky Lift, an iconic feature of the area.

When Rel Maples died in 1985, his widow, Wilma Maples, continued to operate the Inn and to play an important role in the civic life and philanthropy of the area. When she died in December 2011, the Knoxville News-Sentinel called her “the grande dame of Gatlinburg.” The roses that she planted for Rel in the 1950s still adorn the grounds.

Wilma Maples left her half of the property to her sisters and/or their surviving children. The other half was inherited by the descendants of Rel Maples and his first wife, Ruby. The heirs could have sold the property, 2.2 acres in the middle of one of America’s greatest tourism towns, for a large sum, but they realized that anyone paying such a price would tear it down. That gave them common ground to overcome greed, suspicion and longtime alienation to form a partnership that has not only kept the Inn operating but has expanded its season, added amenities and begun an internal remodeling project that will maintain the character of the Inn while bringing it up to modern standards.

The Inn’s grand reopening in 2013 featured entertainment from Bobby Osborne and the Rocky Top Express, with the sons of Felice and Boudleaux Bryant in the audience. It hosted part of the Smoky Mountain Songwriters Festival that summer and will be the headquarters hotel for the event in 2014.

The Inn is currently under the management of Hospitality Solutions, Inc., whose president, Logan Coykendall, said, “I’ve been in the Gatlinburg business community for most of my life and am very honored and excited about being involved in the preservation and enhancement of such a unique and historic property.”

Phantoms And Fall Fun In This Week's Tennessee Tourism Calendar

Tennessee’s upcoming tourism news is consolidated for your convenience below. For a complete list of Tennessee events, visit   tnvacation.com/calendar . Sept. 24-Oct. 5 Memphis –   Listen to the music of the night as Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “The Phantom of the Opera” plays for a limited engagement at The Orpheum Theatre. Sept. 25-28 Crawford –   ... (click for more)

National Storytelling Festival Welcomes World-Famous Storytellers To Jonesborough

The National Storytelling Festival will welcome some of the world’s best storytellers on Oct. 3-5, to the International Storytelling Center in downtown Jonesborough. The event is packed full of activities including dozens of world-renowned storytellers, food and merchandise vendors, and an anticipated crowd of more than 100,000 visitors encompassing nearly the entire ... (click for more)

Erlanger Finishes Fiscal Year With $18 Million Profit

After a major loss the year before, Erlanger Health System finished the fiscal year with an $18 million profit, officials announced Monday night. It was well ahead of the $2 million gain that Erlanger had budgeted for, and far better than last year's $8 million loss. The profit was boosted by a first-time $19,587,000 from a Public Hospital Supplemental payment and essential ... (click for more)

Chancellor Rules That IDB Must Reimburse Attorney Fees, Other Legal Costs For Helen Burns Sharp On TIF Lawsuit

Chancellor Pam Fleenor has ruled that Helen Burns Sharp, who sued over the validity of a $9 million Tax Increment Financing (TIF) for a planned major development on Aetna Mountain, should be reimbursed her discretionary costs as well as her attorney fees. Ms. Sharp said in a recent court filing that her legal bills to attorney John Konvalinka were $74,427 at the time. The ... (click for more)

ChattaData Is A Real Advance For The City

This past Tuesday, the city of Chattanooga's new performance management tool called ChattaData was unveiled. As the chairman of the City Council’s Budget & Finance Committee, I am excited to witness the city putting this important information online in a way that is accessible and transparent to all taxpayers. This approach shines light on how we as a city prioritize our ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Apollos Hester’s Way

East View High was trailing at halftime by a pair of touchdowns in last Friday night’s game against unbeaten Vandegrift. But the players at the Georgetown, Texas, school each have a sticker on the back of their helmets that says “TPW” which is a constant reminder that “Tough People Win.” Then there is “attitude” and that is where running back Apollos Hester steps in. In what ... (click for more)