Picture of the Old English InnNo one knows for sure when the original part of the English Inn was built, but we do know that it has set, for at least two centuries, as the anchor of our community. The Inn was originally built by the Rowe family, at the busy crossing point of the Marion to Bakersville and Burnsville to Cranberry Roads. Isaac English bought the inn from his wife’s family, Alice Rowe English, in the mid 1800’s. As the little hamlet around the English Inn began to grow, a need arose for a post office. Given the task of naming the new post office, Mrs. Alice English chose the name “Spruce Pine” because of the stalwart, beautiful tree she admired from her window every morning.

The original Spruce Pine across the way from the English Inn.

This tree gave Spruce Pine its name on April 26, 1859. The old hostelry witnessed the conflicts of the Civil War, hiding escaping Union soldiers. A few years later, the English Mica Company, and thus, the mining industry in the region, originated from the within the logs of the old structure. As the years passed, the old inn would play host to the first school in Spruce Pine. Students who attended the school boarded there during the week and walked home on the weekends. The English Inn is one of the oldest log structures still standing in North Carolina and has many stories to tell! The Mitchell County Historical Society invites you to come hear these stories and see inside this magnificent building this Saturday, November 25, as part of our Christmas Tour of Historic Structures in Mitchell County. For tickets or more information contact the Mitchell County Historical Society Office at 828-688-4371, or visit our website at mitchellnchistory.org.

 

Isaac English’s daughters posed in front of the English Inn for a portrait, circa 1889. Mary is in the middle, with the others clockwise from top left, Orah, Minnie, Josephine (Dotie), Sarah (Sadie), Cordelia (Cordie), Mabel, Emma, and Illia.

Isaac English’s daughters posed in front of the English Inn for a portrait, circa 1889. Mary is in the middle, with the others clockwise from top left, Orah, Minnie, Josephine (Dotie), Sarah (Sadie), Cordelia (Cordie),
Mabel, Emma, and Illia.

 

This view of the English Inn, taken around 1912, shows the corncrib and stable on the property. Mica processing was underway in a section of the Inn, and its days as a stop for travelers were nearing an end as the railroad arrived, drawing the new town across the nearby Toe River.

This view of the English Inn, taken around 1912, shows the corncrib and stable on the property. Mica processing was underway in a section of the Inn, and its days as a stop for travelers were nearing an end as the railroad arrived, drawing the new town across the nearby Toe River.

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