Today’s door is not really a door by technicality since some of it seems to be missing. So if I go by the dictionary.com definition of the word door, “a movable, usually solid, barrier for opening and closing an entrance way, cupboard, cabinet, or the like, commonly turning on hinges or sliding in grooves,” I would be leading you astray since it’s not exactly “solid.”
As a journalism major, I like to make sure I stick to the facts. So, this is your full disclosure statement. This door is not quite complete. In fact, it was almost hard to see the exact doorway itself. However, I was drawn to the once-grand entrance though.
This abandoned Best Western, is located up in Warm Springs, Georgia, which was once a popular destination area. I’ll let you hear it from one of the town’s websites directly though.
They flocked to the waters for health…….The warm mineral springs drew settlers to the area, and in 1832 when David Rose built the first “resort area” in Warm Springs, its popularity grew. Later in 1893, Charles Davis built the very Victorian 300-room Meriwether Inn. There was a dance pavilion, bowling alley, tennis court and trap shooting. From the nearly 90 degree springs flowing from the hillside of Pine Mountain, resort pools were constructed. It became “the place” for a summer retreat. But at the turn of the century, the resort and the town fell into a decline.
It was the late former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt who first gave national recognition to Warm Springs when, in 1924, he visited the town’s naturally heated mineral springs as treatment for his polio related paralysis. Georgia State Parks recently refurbished the pools and, although they are now mostly empty, a touch pool still exists where visitors are welcome to feel the actual warm spring water and listen to information about its’ history. The warm springs maintains a constant 88 degree temperature year round and flows at approximately 914 gallons per minute.
Unfortunately the springs are not available for public use as a bath/spa resort, but they are used by the Roosevelt Institute for therapeutic purposes. The Springs Complex is open daily for tours from 9:00 am til 4:45 pm except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. For more information call 706-655-5870.
Today, the warmth of the springs is steeped right into the very personalities of the people who live here. Progressive, yet still tied to our traditions, we love to befriend each other and certainly our visitors, and we still take great pleasure in the Southern way of doing things—–cleanly, honestly, but with a mite slower pace!
Like the site stated, it is not what it used to be, but they are still there, still a great place to visit…but maybe just not the Best Western.
Out of curiosity, I poked around the Internet and did some searching on the Best Western. Surprisingly, I found some very interesting things out. I say surprisingly since when I search for things, I tend to find tons of things that have no good connection to what I want. But this time was different!
The hotel, which as you can see here, is in bit of disrepair. I stopped to grab some pictures as I like to photograph abandoned things…ok, and maybe trespass a little. But it is ok when it is for photography purposes, isn’t it?
Anyway, let’s move on. My trespassing is not really relevant here. (Is that a good defense to the law if I am asked?) What IS relevant here officer, is the hotel’s story. Apparently, the hotel was destroyed by a tornado back in 2011. And since then, it has sadly sat empty and abandoned.
My first thought was that it was just abandoned due to lack of visitors and then the sign just got damaged over time. But, this makes more sense I suppose. However, I am sure the reduction of visitors has had a big impact on it remaining abandoned for several years. Because as you look around the small “downtown,” there really is not a lot of bustling action. (But if you like quiet and charming small town shops, then add this to your bucket list!) So I kind of figured, that’s it, story over. Tornado came and no point to rebuild.
But wait, there’s more. I clicked on a few more links in hopes to find some pictures of the hotel in its prime. I didn’t find any. What I did find though was even more interesting. According to the city’s Facebook page, the hotel was recently purchased and renovations have begun! Here is the post that was made on July 25th:
FROM THE DESK OF MAYOR PRATER: Renovations have begun at the Best Western White House Inn on the crest of the mountain in Warm Springs. The sign in front of the hotel and the roof of the portico have been removed as well as other parts of the building.
The hotel was destroyed by a tornado in 2011 and has set deserted and deteriorating ever since. It was recently purchased by Presidential Properties who lost no time in beginning renovations. Mr. Neal Patel, a principal of Presidential Properties, says they would like to reopen the hotel under the Best Western flag by May of 2017. Mr. Patel’s brother and wife will be the resident managers.
Mr. Patel and his wife, Kathy, own the Best Western Hotel of Braselton, Georgia. They have been in the hotel business for more than 14 years. The Braselton property is an older hotel with doors opening to the parking lot where the property in Warm Springs will have rooms opening to enclosed corridors, as did the original. The Patels say the room configuration will be very much like the White House Inn.
Structural engineers have said that the foundation, outer walls and floors are safe. The roof and interior walls, ceilings, carpet, etc., will have to be replaced.
Mayor Bob Prater said, “We are very excited to have Presidential Properties and the Best Western in our community. The area has suffered greatly since the 2011 tornado and this is one more step forward. This endeavor fits into the tourism plan written by the visiting team several years ago. This will benefit our whole area, not just the city of Warm Springs.”
Mayor Prater continued by saying, “It was my pleasure to spend a night in the Patel’s property in Brazelton and I was greatly impressed with the operation there and feel the Patel’s will give us the same quality, here.”
The Patel’s have some far reaching goals for the property on top of the mountain which they will be sharing with the community in the future.
Well, hey now, that’s some good news, especially for those residents and small businesses in the area.
Looks like I will have to go back and do a follow-up story in the future. Heck, maybe I will even spend the night:)