This tree gave Spruce Pine its name on April 26, 1859. Local photographer Jim Jones captured daughter Ora English Burleson, one of Issac and Alice English’s daughters, standing by the famous landmark, which stood for decades across from the English Inn.

This tree gave Spruce Pine its name on April 26, 1859. Local photographer Jim Jones captured daughter Ora English Burleson, one of Issac and Alice English’s daughters, standing by the famous landmark, which stood for decades across from the English Inn.

The English Inn is where Spruce Pine traces its origins. No one can pinpoint the exact date that the original log structure was built, but we believe that it was shortly after the Revolutionary War. Isaac English purchased the ever-expanding building from his brother-in-law Mr. Rowe in the 1800’s. Because the busy inn was located at the crossing point of the Marion to Bakersville and Burnsville to Cranberry Roads, the community around the inn grew into a sizeable settlement bearing the need for a post office. The area in general was referred to as “the Kim Thickets”. Legend has it that the name was changed that day when Mrs. Isaac (Alice) Rowe English looked out a window of the English Inn, saw the majestic tree she admired every morning, and christened the new post office – Spruce Pine. The English Inn was not only a stop for weary travelers but was also the location of the first mica business in the area – English Mica. Also, the first school in the community was held at the English Inn. When the railroad arrived across the river from the inn in 1903, commercial interests that once surrounded the English Inn shifted there as well to be near the lines of transportation. Spruce Pine, as we know it today, would evolve parallel to those same railroad tracks.

The English Inn, the genesis of Spruce Pine is pictured here in this late 1800’s picture.

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