The Topliff Hotel was the center of Spruce Pine’s cultural life from 1901 to the late 1940’s. Serving businessmen, tourists, and other visitors, it was a popular destination. The older section of the hotel was one of the first structures built in the current business district of Spruce Pine. Mr. Z. Taylor Phillips erected the original building and operated it under the name of the Umatilla House.
(Most residents remember it as the Taylor Phillips Hotel). Over the years, several additions were added and in 1920, Mr. and Mrs. C.H. Topliff, from Kansas, purchased the building and added the large, three story wing. There were several apartments in the building as well as offices, which were common in hotels at the time. Dr. David Phillips and Dr. Melvin Webb had medical offices there. Mr. and Mrs. Brad Ragan (Founder of the Carolina Tire Company) also lived in the building. Unfortunately, the building burned on August 6, 1948 and was not rebuilt. According to an article in the Tri-County News from that week, “Few small town hotels in the country are as widely known as the old Topliff. Engineers, geologists, government officials, and businessmen from practically the entire United States stayed there in the days when the town was emerging from a crossroads village to its present thriving status”. The building sat near the current block of structures that include Southwest Trading down to the Toe River Arts Council building in Spruce Pine.