Macon County

With its long covered porch, the Donoho Hotel, built in 1916, looks like many of the resort hotels that used to exist all over Tennessee


Before automobiles, people in Tennessee would spend weeks at a time at small resort hotels, most of which were located near natural springs. There they would relax, read, play croquet, and drink the mineral waters.

In the late 1800s and the early 1900s, Tennessee had about eighty of these hotels, such as Oliver Springs in Anderson County, Tate Springs in Grainger County and Raleigh Springs in Shelby County.

The Armour Hotel in Red Boiling Springs still offers mineral baths.

All of these spring hotels are gone — except for three — and all three of those remaining spring hotels happen to all be in the Macon County community of Red Boiling Springs.

The Thomas House in Red Boiling Springs is supposedly haunted — at least several television shows claim it is.

In Red Boiling Springs you can still stay at an old room at a historic hotel, still sit on the hotel front porch rocking chair, still eat family-style dinners with other guests, and even still taking a bath in mineral water.

In fact, one of the three remaining natural springs hotels — the Thomas House — is reportedly haunted!

If you look carefully at this 1900 map of Macon County and the counties around it, you will notice that Macon has no river AND no railroad.


Also: Macon County has old resort hotels, but it is interesting to reflect on what the county does NOT have.

Macon County is one of the few counties in Tennessee that has never had a railroad line.

Macon County also has no river.

Therefore, Macon County has historically been a very isolated place.


Winding Stairs


One thing Macon County does have, however, is a very underrated trail and waterfall. It is called Winding Stairs, and it is located only a few hundred yards from the Macon County Courthouse in Lafayette. Come check it out!




Oh, and here is the Macon County Courthouse.