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Warm Springs Hotel-Swannanoa Hotel Daybook, 1882-1883


The Warm Springs Hotel was established near thermal springs of the same name, in Buncombe, later Madison County, around 1832. Until destroyed by a fire in 1884, the hotel was one of North Carolina's main summer resorts. It was located in the community of Warm Springs (renamed Hot Springs in 1886), in the Appalachian Mountains of western Madison County near the confluence of the French Broad River and Spring Creek. The Swannanoa Hotel opened in 1880 in Asheville, North Carolina. Both hotels at separate times were briefly under the proprietorship of Dr. William H. Howerton, who had served as a captain of Company H, 57th Regiment, North Carolina Troops in 1862. Following the war Dr. Howerton be ... (more below)

Title

Warm Springs Hotel-Swannanoa Hotel Daybook, 1882-1883

Collection Number

PC.AB.510.1

Date(s)

1882-1883

Language

English

Physical Description
Daybook, 1 volume, 894 pages less pages overwritten and cut
Physical Description
Items
1.00
Abstract

The Warm Springs Hotel was established near thermal springs of the same name, in Buncombe, later Madison County, around 1832. Until destroyed by a fire in 1884, the hotel was one of North Carolina's main summer resorts. It was located in the community of Warm Springs (renamed Hot Springs in 1886), in the Appalachian Mountains of western Madison County near the confluence of the French Broad River and Spring Creek. The Swannanoa Hotel opened in 1880 in Asheville, North Carolina. Both hotels at separate times were briefly under the proprietorship of Dr. William H. Howerton, who had served as a captain of Company H, 57th Regiment, North Carolina Troops in 1862. Following the war Dr. Howerton became active in politics and was elected Secretary of State on the Republican ticket in 1882. He operated the Warm Springs Hotel from 1877 to 1882 and the Swannanoa Hotel from mid-December 1882 to ca. 1884.

A daybook that records daily receipts and expenditures during the last eight months Dr. William H. Howerton operated the Warm Springs Hotel (April 24 - December 14, 1882), and for the first seven months he operated the Swannanoa Hotel at Asheville (December 15, 1882 - July 20, 1883). Consists of 1 volume (894 pages).

Creator

Warm Springs Hotel and the Swannanoa Hotel

Repository

State Archives of North Carolina


Available for research.


Copyright is retained by the authors of these materials, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law (Title 17 US Code). Individual researchers are responsible for using these materials in conformance with copyright law as well as any donor restrictions accompanying the materials.


Processed by George Stevenson, 1993; Fran Tracy-Walls, 2009

Encoded by Fran Tracy-Walls, May 2009; additional encoding by Lea Walker, October 2016


Warm Springs, N.C., was a community located in Appalachian Mountains of western Madison County (formerly Buncombe County) near the confluence of the French Broad River and Spring Creek. It drew its name from the natural thermal springs in the area. Since the early 1800s or before, the locale had been a destination for travelers seeking relief from their ailments. The most well known of the hotels and guest houses in the area was the Warm Springs Hotel.

The Warm Springs Hotel was originally owned by Philip Hale Neilson, followed by James W. and John E. Patton from 1832 until the end of the Civil War. The facility had over 300 rooms and its dining room could accommodate around 600 diners. In 1866 James H. Rumbough purchased the hotel along with the entire town and springs. In its heyday in the 19th century, Warm Springs Hotel was considered one of North Carolina's main summer resorts, boasting a ballroom that was the second largest in the state. The arrival of the train to Warm Springs further contributed to the influx of tourists and the potential expansion of resort accomodations. While this hotel burned in 1884, Rumbough did build within two years a successor, the Mountain Park Hotel. Also in 1886 the name of the town was changed to Hot Springs when springs of higher temperatures were discovered.

Located in western North Carolina, Asheville (Buncombe County), is on a plateau at an average altitude of 2, 216 feet. Following the Civil War, Asheville experienced slow yet steady growth in the tourist industry, appealing primarily to a wealthy clientele. The completion of the Western North Carolina Rail Road, October 1880 ushered in a new period of economic prosperity and tourism. During that same year, the Swannanoa Hotel opened on South Main Street, now College. The Swannanoa was a four-story building and boasted the first bathroom in the city.

William H. Howerton (Feb. 9, 1831 - Aug. 15, 1885), after qualifying as a physician, opened in the 1850s a medical practice at Richlands, Onslow County, where he met and married Amanda Koonce. Moving to Rowan County prior to the Civil War, he served briefly as captain of Company H, 37th Regt., North Carolina Troops, in 1862. Following the war, Dr. Howerton became active in Republican Party politics and successfully stood for election to the office of Secretary of State on the Republican ticket in 1872. Upon completion of his term of office, early in 1877, Dr. Howerton left Raleigh for Warm Springs (now Hot Springs), Madison County, where he began operation of the Warm Springs Hotel. In November, 1882, Dr. Howerton negotiated for proprietorship of the Swannanoa Hotel in Asheville, and switched his operation from Warm Springs to Ashevillein mid-December, 1882. Finding it difficult to make payments toward purchase of the Asheville property, Dr. Howerton was obliged in October, 1883, to enter into a contract of trust with the former proprietors of the Swannanoa Hotel (see Buncombe County Deed Book 45, pages 114-131 for an inventory of the hotel's furnishings). In 1885, Howerton took charge of the Ocean House Hotel at Morehead City, dying suddenly of a paralytic stroke at the height of the season on August 15, 1885, and was buried in Bayview Cemetery.

1866 Warm Springs Hotel purchased by James H. Rumbough 1877 Upon completion of term of office as Secretary of State, Dr. Howerton left Raleigh for Warm Springs (now Hot Springs) to operate the Warm Springs Hotel in Madison County. 1880, October Completion of the Western North Carolina Rail Road. 1880 Completion and opening of the Swannanoa Hotel on South Main Street, now College, in Asheville. 1882, November Dr. Howerton negotiated for the proprietorship of the Swannanoa Hotel. 1882, mid-December Dr. Howerton switched operation of the Warms Springs Hotel to that of the Swannanoa Hotel. 1883, October Having had difficulty making payments toward purchase of the Asheville property, Dr. Howerton entered into a contract of trust with former proprietors of the Swannanoa Hotel. 1884 The Warm Springs Hotel in Madison County burned. 1885 Dr. Howerton took charge of the Ocean House Hotel at Morehead City. 1885, August 15 At the height of the season Dr. Howerton died suddenly of a paralytic stroke.

[Identification of item], PC.AB.510.1, Warm Springs Hotel-Swannanoa Hotel Daybook, 1882-1883, State Archives of North Carolina, Raleigh, NC, USA.


Gift of Mrs.Graham A. Barden, Jr., New Bern, N.C., September 2, 1993.


Finding aids for other account books in this collection are located at the following links:

 Warm Springs Hotel Daybook, 1879

 Warm Springs Hotel Guest Arrivals and Departures, 1880

 Warm Springs Hotel Ledger of Accounts, 1881


This daybook records daily receipts and expenditures during the last eight months Dr. Howerton operated the Warm Springs Hotel (April 24 - December 14, 1882), and for the first seven months he operated the Swannanoa Hotel at Asheville (December 15, 1882 - July 20, 1883). The entries for each day are recorded as they occur, and each entry is arranged with the name of the account to be debited reported to the left, the name of the account to be credited reported to the right, the descriptive phrase for the transaction reported on the line just below the names of the two. accounts, and the sum to be posted as a debit and as a credit in the two accounts is reported in the right margin of the page.

Receipts are generally for incidental charges incurred by hotel guests, such as baths in the Warm Springs, tobacco and bar bills, stamps, papers of pins, haulage of baggage from the depot, and so forth. A special receipt recorded in the daybook is for fines levied against tardy or delinquent hotel staff and includes fines for reporting late to work, for failure to answer a bell, for leaving duty without permission, for breakage of glass and crockery. Operating expenses for the hotel are reported on a day-by-day basis and include kitchen and retail bar provisions, salaries of staff, laundry costs, staff uniforms (jackets and aprons), and occasional purchases of items of furniture. Since the names of debit accounts for incidental charges are the names of hotel guests (the name of the credit account being  "Cash"), it is possible to determine the names of a large number of the guests staying at the two hotels during the period covered by this daybook.


  • Hotelkeepers
  • Hotels--Employees
  • Hotel management
  • Mineral Waters--Therapeutic use--North Carolina--Madison County
  • Resorts--North Carolina--Madison County
  • Buncombe County (N.C.)
  • Asheville (N.C.)--Social life and customs
  • Madison County (N.C.)
  • Hot Springs (N.C.)--Social life and customs
  • Warm Springs (N.C.)--Social life and customs