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University Archives: The Four Seasons Hotel and Sanatorium

Collection Information

Title: Four Seasons Hotel and Sanatorium

Collection #: 2016.037


Extent: 1 Hollinger box (.4 linear feet)



Processing: April Scheuer, November 2012

Biographical Note:

The Four Seasons Hotel and Sanitarium was built in 1892 on what is now the campus of Lincoln Memorial University. The owner of the hotel spared no expense in furnishing the hotel and providing its guests with the best possible stay.  During the course of its short life, the Four Seasons had many famous visitors including Cornelius Vanderbilt and Mark Twain. In 1895, the hotel had to be demolished due to bankruptcy and the contents and property were auctioned off.  A few years later, Oliver Otis Howard marked that plot of land for the site of Lincoln Memorial University. This would become a college which would honor the memory of Lincoln and uphold his ideals about producing a better educated community in the Appalachia region. This collection contains articles about the Four Seasons Hotel and Sanitarium, as well as photographs of the Four Seasons. The sanitarium would later become Grant-Lee Hall, a dormitory on Lincoln Memorial University’s campus.

Biographical Sources: Hess, Earl, Lincoln Memorial and the Shaping of Appalachia, Knoxville: University of Tennessee, 2011.

Series Notes:

Location: B.4.7.6

Access Notes

The Archives and Special Collections of Lincoln Memorial University are located in the Carnegie-Vincent Library, on the 1st Floor.  Please schedule an appointment to view archival materials.  To schedule an appointment please contact the University Archivist.

Sensitive Materials Policy

Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which Lincoln Memorial University assumes no responsibility.


Folder 1

Black and white matted photograph of the Four Seasons Sanitarium, later Grant-Lee Hall. From the Knoxville Engraving Company, Knoxville, TN

Black and white photograph of the Four Seasons Sanitarium, later Grant-Lee Hall Frontal view

Photograph of Four Seasons Sanitarium, later Grant-Lee Hall. Side view

Black and white photograph of Four Seasons Sanitarium, later Grant-Lee Hall Side view

Black and white close-up photograph of the Four Seasons Sanitarium, later Grant-Lee Hall Side view

Distant view of Four Seasons Sanitarium, later Grant-Lee Hall Side view

Black and white photograph of front view of Four Seasons Sanitarium, later Grant-Lee Hall

Folder 2

Photograph of the interior parlor of the Four Seasons Hotel. Displays the typical features of a late 19th Century hotel; high vaulted ceilings, pillars, and fireplaces

Folder 3

Letter dated March 21st, 2006 written to Carolyn Gulley from Ben H. Whiteaker. Whiteaker’s great-uncle helped build the Four Seasons Hotel. Included with the letter was a photo of the hotel parlor and the floor plans, both of which had belonged to this man. (See folders 2 and 4) Whiteaker donated news clippings about the Four Seasons from the ‘Blue and Gray’ newspaper. (See Folder 10)

Folder 4

Four Seasons Hotel floor plans detailing the locations of guest rooms, entertainment rooms, the kitchens, etc Includes plans for four floors and basement. Also includes a list of suppliers for the hotel (All based in New York):

Nelson Matter & Co.                                Bram Hall & Deane

W. J. Sloane                                              Hardman, Peck & Co.

Gorham Manufacturing Co.                      L. Strauss & Sons                  

Arnold, Constable & Co.                          Frank A. Hall

Folder 5

Contains separate black and white sketches of the Four Seasons Hotel and the Sanitarium. No artist signature.

Folder 6

Article about the founding and closing of the Four Seasons Hotel and sanitarium which led to the founding of Lincoln Memorial University

Folder 7

Envelope addressed from the Four Seasons with a drawing of the hotel and its logo on the envelope. Dated 1894 and addressed to someone in Harrogate, TN (writing illegible).

Folder 8

Typed label for stone wall outside the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum. This wall was originally part of a stone fence built around the Four Seasons Hotel in 1892.

Folder 9

Black and white photograph of the Four Seasons Hotel Photocopy

Two copies of small Four Seasons photograph and caption taken from Tennessee Magazine, March 1973 Photocopy.

Four page article written by Bill Woolsey titled ‘A Dream and a Destiny,’ about the Four Seasons Hotel and Sanitarium. From the Nashville Tennessean Magazine December 11th, 1973

Part of an article about Lincoln Memorial University with a black and white photograph of Four Seasons Hotel and one of the Four Seasons Sanitarium Photocopy

Article about the Four Seasons taken from the Knoxville Journal, March 1st, 1892 and put into the Middlesboro Weekly News, March 5th, 1892 Photocopy.

Front page of Knoxville News Sentinel, September 15th, 1940 which contains a photograph of the Four Seasons Hotel. Photocopy.

Article from the Mountain Review Vol. III No. 4, July 1976 titled ‘All this Shall Pass Away,’ by Joseph E. Suppiger. About the development of the Four Seasons Hotel and Sanitarium Photocopy

Folder 10

Article in the ‘Blue and Gray’ newspaper dated April 25th, 1952. This article is titled ‘The Hotel that became a College.” It contains information about the Four Seasons Hotel and Sanitarium and how it eventually became Lincoln Memorial University.

Folder 11

Contains description of the property of the Four Seasons Hotel and Sanitarium, later Lincoln Memorial University Includes land measurements Is missing the first page.

Folder 12

Contains a guest list of doctors who were guests at the Four Seasons Sanitarium Dated October 1892

Folder 13

American Association deed granting land to John, Neil, and D.A. Hurst in Cumberland Gap (now Harrogate) Tenn. Land was to be used to build the Four Seasons Hotel and Sanitarium. Dated July 24th, 1891 Signed by three witnesses and two receivers.

Folder 14

Contains a ringed set of four keys Three are similar, one is obviously different; it has the number four on one side and R & E inscribed on the other. The Key ring has a tag which says ‘Four Seasons Hotel- Cumberland Gap Park, Tenn. - 1894.’ On the front of the tag there is the inscription S.C. Flemon Keys. Ring contains additional item that looks like it is meant to wind something up.


[Identification of Item], Four Seasons Hotel Papers, Archives and Special Collections, Lincoln Memorial University, TN, USA.

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