The veranda seems to go around the second floor of an internal courtyard.
By 1903, they had dammed the Toxaway River — creating the 640-acre artificial Lake Toxaway — and constructed the luxurious 500-guest Toxaway Inn. After 1904, when the Southern Railroad opened a depot on the lake, the area was known as “Switzerland of America.”
The Lodge was presented in a 1905 company brochure as a “nature kindergarten” for “children of the city” to learn about trees, flowers, and birds. Farm animals and poultry were also available for study.
At an altitude of over 4,500 ft., the views from the wrap-around porch and the lookout tower were particularly good. Guests from the other Toxaway hotels would spend the night in the house to see the sunrise or sunset over the mountains.
It was also used as a hunting retreat for wealthy industrialists.
The Lodge no longer exists — although it was still there in 1920, four years after severe flooding caused the company’s dam to burst. (Some homes were destroyed, but only a mule perished.)
Lake Toxaway disappeared, and the Toxaway Inn emptied out as well. It never re-opened after 1916 and was demolished in 1947.
In the early 1960s, another group of investors rebuilt the dam. The lake re-filled, and a golf club and hotel were opened. The property around what was once The Lodge is now Preserve at Rock Creek, an “exclusive” real estate development.
To scroll through larger version of the photos, click on ‘Continue reading’ below and then on any thumbnail in the gallery.
My mind was once the true survey
Of all these meadows fresh and gay,
And in the greenness of the grass
Did see its hopes as in a glass. . .
— Andrew Marvell, from “The Mower’s Song“
More big (boxwood) love. . .
The house is more often called the Nelson House for the family that built it in the 1740s and owned it throughout the 19th century. George and Adele Blow purchased it and began to restore it in 1914. In 1968, it became a National Park Service site.
The front of Nelson House in 1915. This photo is part of an Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS).
(There’s a photo of the front of the house and the younger boxwoods in 1862 here.)
The garden during the Blow’s ownership was designed by Charles Freeman Gillette, a landscape architect known for working in the Colonial Revival style. Today, little remains. The giant boxwoods at the front of the house are gone.
*All photos here via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.