Higdon Hotel was built in 1878 by Harriet Dodson. By 1883, the place was purchased by the Higdon family. The Higdons expanded it to host the railroad bosses who were overseeing the building of the railroad through Reliance.
Once the railroad was done, it became a resort hotel for people vacationing in the area. When the railroad no longer was the main method of transportation, the hotel went out of business.
In the 1970s, the hotel was purchased by seven friends who worked to stabilize the building with the hopes of reopening it again. Unfortunately, they weren’t able to complete the work.
The town of Reliance became a rail town when the Louisville and Nashville Railroad purchased the right of way in 1888. In 1891, the railroad watchmen’s house was built. Originally, the house was a simple two-story house. The one-story addition was added at a later time.
The first watchman was named Mr. Pickle, according to the National Register application. Unfortunately, I can’t determine who that was. There are Pickels and Pickelsimers who live in the greater area, but there are zero listed for the 1900 census.
Overlooking Highway 30 in Reliance, Tennessee is the oldest structure in the historic district. Built in 1888, this folk Victorian sits in an enviable position of being surrounded by the mountains while being able to see the Hiwassee River. The Vaughn and Webb families were integral to the small town. They ran the local convenience store and post office. (Sadly, I was unable to get a photo of the store. It was surrounded by dozens of motorcyclists and dozens of cars. I avoid these in my photos.)
The information I can find online about this house does not mention that the Victorian ornamentation was added later. It appears this house started as an I-House (plantation plain) with a later addition of the two-level porch and the detailing.
Trew General Merchandise opened in 1890. Located on the Polk and McMinn County lines, the store was opened by John Wesley Trew. The store closed in 1996. The store stayed in the Trew family for its 106 years.
It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.
Overlooking the Ocoee River in Benton, Tennessee are the graves of Nanyehi (known more by her colonized name of Nancy Ward), her son Five Killer, and her brother Longfellow. Nanyehi was known as a Beloved Woman of the Cherokee because of her bravery in a battle and for how she kept her tribe safe during the American Revolutionary War.
By the age of 17, Nanyehi was married to Tsu-la and had two children. She fought alongside her husband against the Creek Nation. When he died during the war, she took his gun and helped in the battle.
In the late 1750s, she married a man named Bryan Ward from South Carolina. Ward was married to another woman in South Carolina. Ward and Nanyehi had one daughter. Ward eventually moved back to South Carolina to be with his other wife and children.
Nanyehi stayed in the area and ran an inn until her death.
L. V. Woodlee was a lawyer and leader in the Grundy County area. His home was built in 1900 and sits on the Altamont town square. The Colonial Revival home is on the National Register of Historic Places.