Ask Hamilton – The Fairyland Club

The Fairyland Club

Click here for Larger Image

Dear Hamilton,
I heard that the Lookout Mountain Fairyland Club is on the National Register of Historic Places. What makes it worthy of such a distinction?
Sincerely,
Wondering Wanderer

Dear Wondering,
Great question! Travel with me back to the 1920s, a great era to be middle class in America. Wages were increasing, working hours were dropping, and consumerism was soaring to new heights. With more time on their hands and money in their pockets, Americans were looking for fun. Between 1919 and 1929, American spending on recreation and leisure almost doubled.
Meanwhile, local movers and shakers Garnet Carter and Frieda Utermoehlen Carter were in the process of developing the 450-acre Fairyland residential community on Lookout Mountain. A business-savvy couple in an era marked by growing demand for leisure, it’s no surprise they saw the advantages of opening a vacation resort at its center. The inn would act as a social and recreational anchor of the Fairyland development. Plus, it would offer vacationers a chance to enjoy cooler weather and expansive views of the valley below amidst a mountain retreat.
Of course, the Carters were a fashionable, clever sort of couple. They didn’t want to build just any kind of inn. First, it should fit with Fairyland’s mythical flavor, whose storybook theme and fairytale street names had been inspired by Frieda’s fascination with European folklore. Second, it shouldn’t disturb the enchanting beauty of the mountain landscape.
So they brought in local architect William Harding Sears, who designed the inn in the Tudor Revival style then at its peak of popularity. They also recruited nationally renowned landscape designer Warren H. Manning, whose plans not only preserved the natural rock formations surrounding the inn, but accentuated them. The result was an enchanting resort that fit organically into the rugged, natural terrain.
The Fairyland Inn opened its doors in June of 1925 with outdoor dancing and dining as well as about 30 guestrooms. An indoor ballroom and outdoor swimming pool were added the following year, as well as a cluster of cottages Frieda dubbed “Mother Goose Village.” Today, these cottages also remain on the National Register of Historic Places.

When the Great Depression hit, the inn closed its doors – but it was converted and reopened as a private club in 1934. The Fairyland Club, still in operation today, has morphed and changed over the years. However, the historic structure that acts as its home base has changed very little. In 2015, the clubhouse celebrates 90 years of operation.

Hope this helps,
Hamilton Bush
Resident History Hound,
Chattanooga, Tennessee

 

You Also Might Like

Holiday Blessings 2021
little girl throwing fake snow for Christmas photo

Local Children Celebrate the Season The holiday season is a time when we reflect on our many blessings, and one Read more

Give the Gift of Giving Back 2021
two hands clasped like one is helping the other person up

Making a Difference Through Local Charities   Give the gift of giving back this holiday season and make an impact Read more

Working in the City – Dirty Jane’s Antiques
Ryan Bush, owner of Dirty Jane's Antiques

Unique Antiques   Before opening her store, the story of Jane Dumphrey caught the attention of Ryan Bush.   By Read more

Ask Hamilton – Trains in Chattanooga
passengers waiting for a train at terminal station in Chattanooga in 1959

The Inside Track on the History of Trains in Chattanooga    (Above) Passengers waiting for a train at Terminal Station, Read more

2021 State Champions – Individuals
Skyy Craig, Walker Valley Hurdles state champion

Local High School Championship Athletes During the 2020-2021 school year, these top athletes were crowned “State Champion.” We congratulate these Read more

2021 State Champions – Teams
Baylor Softball State Champion Team 2021

Local High School Championship Teams   The 2020-2021 school year was a unique one, but these sports teams came out Read more