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

On the Map 2022
black and white world map

Area High School Alumni Take on the World These graduates have accomplished incredible things and enjoyed great successes since their Read more

Ask Hamilton – The Lookout Inn
The Lookout Inn circa 1890

A Luxury Hotel on Lookout   (Above) A view of the Inn’s wing and wrap-around porch, circa 1890   Photos Read more

Working in the City: Burlaep Print & Press
screen printed t-shirts from Burlaep Print & Press

For the Love of the Outdoors When a couple of college students started a small-scale fundraising venture in their free Read more

Morning Pointe Senior Living Celebrates 25 Years of Service
two elderly ladies at Morning Point

Raising the Bar in Senior Care Transitioning a loved one into assisted living can be a wearisome process for all Read more

Working in the City: I Go Tokyo
interior of I Go Tokyo boutique in Chattanooga

From Tokyo With Love Traveling to distant countries for a living would be a dream for many people. When Margaret Read more

Ask Hamilton – The W Road
Waldon's ridge on a postcard from the 1890s

The History of Walden's Ridge and the W Road   (Above) Postcard of Walden’s Ridge: “Along the Dixie Highway,” circa Read more