Claddagh Inn

claddagh rev
755 North Main Street

Claddagh Inn is a large, rambling frame boarding house at 755 N. Main Street, on the west side of the street, separated by a vacant lot from the Waverly, also being nominated to the Register at this time. The house sits on a narrow city lot two blocks north of the central business district. The house was built before 1906, and had a complete transformation between 1912 and 1922 when it was enlarged from a two-story building to the present three-story building with twenty guest rooms. The house retains architectural integrity from the 1920s period. Each stage or its architectural evolution represents the growth of Hendersonville as a tourist resort during the early twentieth century.

The original building, shown on the 1912 Sanborn Map as a two-story frame house, serves as the main core of the present building. This is a rectangular block, three bays wide and approximately six bays deep, of plain late Victorian design with weatherboarded walls, a brick foundation and one-over-one sash windows. The symmetrical east facade has a central double leaf front door with upper lights, flanked by bay windows with wide Queen Anne style sash. The upper sash contains lozenge-patterned muntins, the lower sash a single pane. The second story or the facade has identical windows, and the center bay above the entrance is a recessed balcony. The effect is that the two flanking windows appear to be bay windows. A single door opens to this balcony. The corners of the upper facade are beveled, with narrow sash windows with upper lozenge-patterned sash, like the bay windows of the lower facade. The sides of the main block have narrower versions of the front windows, both single and in pairs.

Between the second and third story is a deep pent roof with boxed eaves, covered with asphalt shingles. This may be the remnant of the original roof covering the two-story building, or may have been added when the house was raised to three stories. The third story, added between 1912 and 1922, is weatherboarded, with a low hipped roof with overhanging eaves and exposed eave brackets. It is punctuated by pairs of one-over-one sash windows, the upper sash with Craftsman-style muntins.

A one-story hipped porch extends across the main facade and down the south side elevation to the rear one-story wing, probably the original kitchen. The porch apparently dates from the enlargement, and has paired square posts set on high brick bases across the facade, and square full-height posts down the south side. The entire porch has a plain wooden railing. The southeast corner of the porch extends out in a polygonal gazebo, accented with a shallow roof pediment. At the northwest rear corner, a two-story wing extends from the main block and contains the dining room on the first floor and guest rooms upstairs. This wing dates from the enlargement.

On the interior, the basic floor plan and some of the trim of the original building survive. The front entrance opens into a large entrance hall, with a splendid stair rising in the corner, with a landing to the second floor. The stair is of simple Colonial Revival character, and may be original. The entrance hall narrows to a hallway beyond the stairs. The registration counter is straight down the hall, and the dining room is off the hall on the north side. There are a total of thirty rooms, including twenty guest rooms distributed mostly on the upper two floors. The boarding house is laid out on a double-loaded center hall plan on all three floors.

To the right of the entrance hall is a parlor, the only room which apparently is unaltered from the original pre-1906 construction date. The late Victorian style mantel has simple pilasters supporting a molded shelf, and symmetrically molded door and window surrounds. While some symmetrically molded surrounds survive elsewhere on the first and second floors of the main core, most of the woodwork is plainer and appears to date from the 1910s and 1920s.

Interior walls are plaster, most of which has been wallpapered. Floors are pine, and wide baseboards survive throughout. Interior doors are both five-panel, principally vertically configured, and six-panel, horizontally-configured compositions. The dining room is about 30 by 30 feet square with two three-part window sets in the north wall. In each set the central window is only an upper half, leaving wall space below to receive a sideboard. The ceiling is crossed by boxed beams with crown moldings. A plain boxed column carries the beams in the center of the room. The upstairs hallways are broad, and furnished as sitting areas. Each guest room is provided with a louvered ventilating door. Some rooms have late Victorian style mantels, some with mirrored overmantels. 

Along with the Waverly next door, Chewning House is one of the few large boarding houses in downtown Hendersonville which still serve their purpose. Both reflect the boom in tourism development which began in the late 19th century and continued through the 1920s. Though of similar proportions, the Waverly still reflects the aesthetics of the Victorian period, while Chewning House is more a part of the domestic styles of the 1920s, representing a return to simpler interior detailing and classic proportions. Sanborn maps indicate that the structure was enlarged from a two-story building between 1912 and 1922.

W. A. Smith sold the 2/3 acre lot and house to Elsie Sindolf on October 10, 1906, for $3,175.00. At this time, it was known as the Smith-Green House (Henderson County Deed Book 56, p. 154). 0n August 3, 1914, she sold the property to E. W. Vacher for $8,500.00. Mrs. Sindolf had changed the name to the Charleston Boarding House, and Mr. Vacher retained that name (Henderson County Deed Book 85, p.36). L. R. Chewning and wife Mattie bought the Charleston Boarding House from Vacher on May 18, 1916, for $8,500.00 (Henderson County Deed Book 92, p.153). The Chewnings probably enlarged the house sometime before 1922, when the Sanborn map shows a larger building. They also renamed it Chewning House, as the 1926/27 and 1937/38 Hendersonville City Directories both refer to it by this name. In 1934, Mattie F. Chewning, widow, deeded Chewning House to Home Owner's Loan Corporation of Washington D. C. (Henderson County Deed Book 116, p.229). This corporation sold the property to E. J. Harrell and wife Eve on May 1, 1938 for $11,000.00 (Henderson County Deed Book 219, p.458). Sometime after 1934, the lot shrank to less than one half acre. Later owners included T. M. Bonner and M. U. McCurry, who also owned the Waverly. 

(Excerpts from the National Register of Historic Places, Registration Form 12.28.88)

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