The Highland Center © 2015
The Highland Inn
"Pride of the Mountains" since 1904
68 West Main Street
Post Office Box 40
Monterey, Virginia 24465
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The Highland Inn is a historic hotel located in Virginia's Western Highlands. The hotel is the premier architectural landmark in the historic town of Monterey, the county seat of Highland County, which is fondly referred to as "Virginia's Switzerland." Built in 1904 to serve the lodging needs of tourists escaping from the summer heat of nearby cities, the hotel was known for it's first 75 years as The Hotel Monterey. The Highland Inn is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a Virginia Historic Landmark.
In 1903, a modest boom time for Highland County, a local businessman saw the need for a first-class hotel in Highland County. Tourists seeking a salubrious and healthful climate had long been coming to spend the summer season at Virginia’s mineral springs and cool mountain resorts. He saw a need for a hotel that could serve the area as a social center and a refreshing resting place for travelers making the arduous trip from the Shenandoah Valley, to what is still one of the most secluded locales in Virginia. In more recent years with a few notable exceptions, changes in transportation and lifestyles have seen the demise of nearly all of Virginia’s mountain resorts and spas. The Highland Inn is one of the few lodging places of its size to continue operating.
The hotel's builder and original owner was Silas W. Crummett, a local businessman. The contractors were the well-known Eutsler Brothers of Grottoes, Virginia who built the Hotel Monterey for $6,000. It was built at the end of the Victorian Age in a commercial Queen Anne style. The hotel’s outstanding architectural feature is an elaborate Eastlake style two level porch with a profusion of both turned and sawn ornamentation.
In the early days of the hotel's operation, prominent guests included the great Band Leader John Philip Sousa. The famous director Henry King and silent film star Richard Barthelmess stayed for two weeks at the hotel, along with other cast and crew during the filming of the silent film classic "Tol'able David".
The hotels' story is incomplete without a historical overview of Highland County. Highland wth the county seat at Bell's Place (now Monterey) was formed on March 19, 1847, largely through the efforts of Colonel Andrew H. Byrd. It was at the first meeting of the justices of the first Court of Highland that Samuel Ruckman proposed that the name for the county seat be Highland. The town did not go under the name of Highland for long, for upon the election of General Zachary Taylor to the Presidency the name was changed to Monterey as a tribute to Taylor’s victory at the Battle of Monterrey, Mexico. The largest town in Highland County is Monterey. Now with 250 people, the historic town is architecturally dominated by this grand old turn-of-the-century hotel, The Highland Inn.
Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Harvey Firestone and John Burroughs traveling from Cheat Moutain Lodge to Bolar Springs spent the evening visting Monterey and reportedly enjoyed dinner at the hotel on one of their famous summer camping trips.