History of Inn on Church
- Historic Downtown Hendersonville Hotel & Inn
Downtown Hendersonville and the village of Flat Rock have been a destination retreat for well over 100 years for those desiring the cooler and less humid climate of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The area has become a four season’s destination with a lively downtown and year round festivals and events.
The Inn on Church is Hendersonville NC’s only downtown hotel, located just one block off historic Main Street. With 21 individually decorated rooms and an excellent space for any event, Inn on Church is a comfortable retreat for out-of–town guests and a choice venue for locals and guests alike to host all special group events.
The property has been a lodging facility since its inception.
The Inn was built in 1919-1921 as a hotel to serve visitors coming to Hendersonville and Flat Rock. In February 1989, the Inn on Church gained official certification as a National Historic building. An extensive renovation was completed in 2006 with every effort made to preserve the charm of the historic building.
The former Aloah Hotel, called the Hendersonville Inn since the 1930s, is a large, three-story, relatively severely designed brick hotel on a corner lot at 201 Third Avenue West, just west of downtown Hendersonville. The only stylistic elements are the modest Classical Revival porch and entrance. The rectangular building, with shallow T projections on the east and west sides, has a flat roof, overhanging boxed and molded eaves, and an ample one-story frame porch extending around three sides of the building. Porch entrances face Third Street and Church Street. The northernmost bay of the east side porch is enclosed as a sunroom. Six-over-six pane windows occurring singly or in pairs or triplets, generously illuminate the building. The main entrance, facing Third Avenue, is a single beveled glass door with four pane beveled sidelights. The building rests on a low stone foundation, and a low rough quarried stone retaining wall outlines the narrow grassy lawn on the two street sides. The hipped roof porch is supported by paired square posts, occurring in triplets at the corners, with a plain wooden balustrade. The hotel is remarkably unaltered on the exterior. The only obvious change is the metal awnings which shelter the south side of the porch, probably replacements for earlier canvas awnings.
On the interior, the hotel is equally well-preserved. Like the exterior, the interior treatment is spare and utilitarian, with a slight Craftsman flavor to the dark stained woodwork and the fireplace in the lobby, a simple arched brick design with a heavy dark stained bracketed shelf. The lobby occupies the south half of the first floor, and this large space is supported at intervals by wooden paneled and plastered posts and exposed ceiling joists. The closed-string stair rises in two flights with a landing along the south front wall to the second floor. It has a handsome dark stained railing, with heavy square newels and simple balustrade similar to the front porch railing. A dark stained paneled registration desk, apparently original, is nestled beneath the staircase facing the entrance. French doors open from the lobby into the dining room and kitchen area, which occupy the rear half of the first floor. The dining room space has paneled wooden posts and exposed boxed ceiling joists. The entire interior retains its original doors, with five horizontal panels, dark stained woodwork, and wooden floors and plaster walls. Each of the guest rooms boast a louvered door in addition to the solid paneled door, which was used as early air conditioning.
The Aloah Hotel is the only purpose-built hotel in Hendersonville still operated as a hotel. Known later as the Carson House and since the early 1930s as the Hendersonville Inn, the Aloah is one of the last of the town’s hotels, and its plain sturdy brick design and ample wraparound porch reflect comfort and continuity. It is representative of the Inns, Boarding Houses, and Hotels property type.
Originally, this section of Hendersonville was filled with other hotels catering to the tourism boom: most notably the Hodgewell Hotel, which was at the corner of 4th Avenue West and Church Street, a block north of the Aloah Hotel; and the Kentucky Home at the northeast corner of Washington and 4th Streets, a block northeast of the Aloah Hotel. Both of these structures have been demolished. Aside from its historical associations, the Aloah Hotel is also notable for its continuous use as a hotel.
The 90′ x 150′ rectangular lot on which the Aloah Hotel sits was originally owned by Dr. Columbus Few, who sold the property for $1,500.00 to his son C. Few, Jr. in 1914 (Henderson County Deed Book 84, p. 257). The deed mentions the lot only with no mention of improvements. Few, Jr. sold the property to J. O. Bell in 1910 for $10,000.00 with a bank note of $1,800.00, indicating the balance due. It appears that J. O. Bell was the builder of the Aloah and sold the property in 1921 to Mrs. Etta Carson. The building’s name was changed to the Carson Hotel or Carson House. Apparently, Mrs. Carson lost the hotel during the Depression, because it was sold on the Courthouse steps at auction in 1932.
At this time, Mr. W. H. Britt bought it for $25.00 from the Green River Manufacturing Company (Henderson County Deed Book 203, p. 134). Once again, it experienced a change of identity, becoming the Hendersonville Inn. In 1943, the hotel was sold to Ira E. Johnson (Henderson County Deed Book 249, p. 305). Finally, in 1985, I. E. Johnson deeded the property to his son, E. Leland Johnson. It is the only existing hotel of the era in Hendersonville. The INN was lovingly renovated in 2000. The current property manager, Freddie, was instrumental in all of the renovations and you will probably see him around the inn still working on keeping the vintage charm alive. The current owners and innkeepers are Joe and Stephanie Carlton, which purchased the inn in October of 2011. They display many collections and lovingly keep the gardens and the inn in perfect
condition leading up to the 100 year birthday of the inn. They plan to have a great centennial party in 2019.
Source: National Register of Historic Places, Registration Form, dated December 28, 1988.