We often get asked about the history of this beautiful Inn, so we thought you might enjoy some of the highlights.
The Inn was built by John H. and Jessie B. Patterson of Jacksonville, Florida as a private summer home in 1896. It was purchased in the 1920s by Felix Lake and then Dr. Charles and Ida deGarmo also from Florida, who operated “The Tea Room” until Florida hurricanes and the stock market crash, caused them to close their doors. Florida friends convinced Isabel J. Foster to lease the property and, with considerable ingenuity and hard work, she and her daughter, Nell, operated “Camp Happiness” for teenage girls for 4 seasons. She bought cots for $0.25 each, turned the porches and all available space into dormitories. Isabel also created a swimming pool from an abandoned reservoir, set up tennis courts and hiking trails, and provided horseback riding lessons.
In the mid 1930s, the Royall family bought the property from the deGarmos. Rev. William R. Royall, his wife, Ina and his son, William Jr. named it Echo Inn and ran it as a restaurant and country Inn until the 1970s. They made additions to the main Inn and built several other buildings on the property. William R. Royall Jr. also served as mayor of Laurel Park Village for 17 years.
For the next 20 years, the Inn, which became known as Echo Mountain Inn, had several owners including Cooper and Elizabeth Smith, Dick and Marion Mulford, and Peter and Shirley Demaras. Each made additions and improvements based on their talents and vision for the Inn.
In July 2004, the current owners purchased the inn and have worked very hard to keep the historic character of the property while adding modern conveniences. Each newly restored and decorated room has been named to convey its unique motif. From the Royal Room to the Plum Pretty Room to the Rustic Room, every effort has been made to provide a place where their guests will feel at home. In 2015, all public areas or the Inn were completely renovated and updated, as can be seen in the many current photos.