In 1889, Edmond G. Watkins stepped out onto his front lawn and marveled at his latest construction. It was more than just a home for his wife and family; it was a monument to the rebirth of the south after surviving the Civil War. Built from the Union Army redoubt, Fort Wood, stones that had once seen battles now saw a future of beauty and elegance.
With his drive and vision, Watkins soon became president of the Lookout Mountain Land Company and the Chattanooga and Lookout Mountain Railway Company and was lauded for his “energy, activity, and enterprise” that drove the development of the mountain. For his eagerness in seeing Chattanooga prosper after the trials of the war between the states, Watkins was elected mayor of the Scenic City in 1897, thus allowing his Victorian Romanesque home to become the Mayor’s Mansion.
The beauty of this three story marvel, from the hand-laid parquet floors containing five different types of wood, to its 14 gables, is the overwhelming sense of history that roams its halls and rooms. In 1901, the house was purchased by Edward Gould Richmond for his family. They were Chattanooga’s wealthiest residents at the time, and were incredibly active in the community. Mr. Richmond was the first president of the Chattanooga Library and one of the original trustees of the Carnegie Library. His dealings in cotton, oil, land development and the railway allowed him to give more to charity than the YMCA and the churches of the area combined.
Today, the restored Mayor’s Mansion Inn is a historic inn containing over 13,000 sq. ft. and boasts five beautifully appointed rooms and six lavish suites, each with private baths. Guests enjoy a delicious three-course gourmet breakfast each morning of their stay in the lovely Tiffany Dining Room. There is the peaceful Mayor’s Library for relaxation, and the Fort Wood Ballroom is an elegant setting for weddings and corporate events. The Inn is the cornerstone of the Fort Wood Historic District, and is conveniently located close to Chattanooga’s downtown attractions, business and art districts, and many fine dining establishments.
Edmond G. Watkins created a monument to the rebirth of the south, and the staff of the Mayor’s Mansion Inn continue that tradition of providing you with a place for beauty, elegance, and rebirth. The innkeepers stand behind their motto: “Making your stay as unforgettable as your surroundings.” Come find your place in history at the Mayor’s Mansion Inn!