ASHEVILLE NC – If one really wants to see the heart of Lake Junaluska’s beginning, then take the Tour of Historic Homes, presented by the Junaluska Woman’s Club, the oldest club at the Lake organized in 1917. Each of the four homes and one lodge is located on Atkins Loop, named for “founding father” Bishop James Atkins. Local historian and resident Bill King described Atkins Loop as ” holds the footsteps of the original residential area of Lake Junaluska”; all were built between 1913 and 1917.
The homes on the tour are: 334 Atkins Loop (C. E. Weatherby Sr. home was the 1st built in 1913)now owned by Mrs Virginia McNair, 232 Atkins Loop(original home of Irby Roland Hudson) now owned by Dan & Louisa Suggs, and 158 Atkins Loop (originally the Maffitt home) now owned by Neil & Norma Jean Dobson for over 40 years and has the original chestnut woodwork & floors, river rock fireplace and furnishings which include the bed in which Eleanor Roosevelt is said to have slept. Continuing the tour with 120 Atkins Loop, (the 1914 home of Dr William Quillian, then the superintendent of the Methodist Training School for Missionaries in Nashville, TN.) where present owners, Art and Betty Swarthout, only the 3rd owners have lived since 1972.and where Eleanor Roosevelt sat on the porch and had tea. Also included is the Providence Lodge at 49 Atkins Loop, (built by C. E. Weatherby in 1915) and is owned by Carol Clark and still used as a lodge for guests at Lake Junaluska.
The tour also includes Weatherby Park, just across from Atkins Loop, which has been refurbished with new greenery and benches by the Junaluska Woman’s Club, and a new picnic table by the descendants of C.E. Weatherby, who built the first house at Atkins Loop. The Junaluska Woman’s Club first dedicated the park to Weatherby in 1923. Some of his descendants will be on hand for the park’s rededication in honor of the Lake’s Centennial.
Current owners of the homes and lodge will be on hand during the tours to provide historical facts. Shown in picture is Margaret Fowler McCleskey as Nyla Weatherby in the garden.
Refreshments will be served at the end of the tour.
Visitors may walk the loop or ride in a van. This is a walking tour and comfortable shoes are recommended. Park at the Chapel parking lot down by the Lake and the trolley will take you to Atkins Loop.
Tickets $10.00 are on sale and may be purchased at the Bethea Welcome Center or at 334 Atkins Loop on the day of the tour.