October 18, 2013

Wright Hotel, Depot and Section House to be open during Black Bear Festival

Submitted by the Whitfield-Murray Historical Society

DALTON — The Whitfield-Murray Historical Society announces that three of Chatsworth’s most historic structures will be open to the public during the annual Black Bear Festival on Saturday and Sunday.

The Wright Hotel, the old Chatsworth Depot and the railroad Section House will all be open throughout the festival. A $5 admission fee will be charged at the hotel and depot for a combination ticket.

On the corner of Market Street and Second Avenue, the Wright Hotel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Built for the Thomas Wright family in 1909, the hotel opened for business in 1910. Operated by the family for more than three decades, the hotel was then leased to other businessmen until the 1960s. Katherine Wright Raine, daughter of the original builders, returned to Chatsworth in the 1970s after a long career as a public health nurse among the Indians of the American Southwest. She carefully restored most of the hotel and then bequeathed the building to the Historical Society upon her death in 1986.  

Today, this amazing property contains many original antiques, various old hotel furnishings, numerous Indian crafts, nursing memorabilia and some more recent antique additions, including a pump organ, a sofa, chairs, rugs and a very antique radio. It also houses a gift shop featuring books, postcards, prints, DVDs, note cards and other publications of the Historical Society.  The Murray County High School Alumni Association will also have Rock Building prints, note cards and postcards for sale to benefit the association’s scholarship fund.

The depot is where Chatsworth began. Constructed in 1905 by the Louisville & Nashville Railroad, the depot was literally built in the middle of the woods, but soon the town of Chatsworth was established around it. The depot was moved from its original site by the tracks for preservation by the Historical Society.

Now located on First Avenue adjacent to the hotel, the building houses many displays relating to early Chatsworth, the talc industry which helped build the town and the railroad in Murray County. It is the only depot still in existence in Murray County. On display during the festival will be a collection of items from Dr. R.H. Bradley’s office in Chatsworth. A well-known physician of many years, Bradley was the doctor for railroad employees.

Also during the festival, there will be a used book sale in the garage at the Wright Hotel and a raffle for a framed print of historic downtown Chatsworth. For more information, call Emily Cogburn at (706) 695-2268, Diane Davis at (706) 695-4200 or Tim Howard at (706) 695-2740.