White Cliff Springs Hotel Guest's Letter
White Cliff Springs Hotel Guest's Letter

The Sweetwater Enterprise, Sweetwater, Tennessee, August 10, 1871

Editorial Correspondence.
White Cliff Springs, Tenn.,
Aug. 6th, 1871.

Dear Enterprise :

I arrived here on Thursday last by 12 o'clock, and took dinner at the hotel, where I have been ever since, and thinking your many readers would like to hear something from this favorite Watering Place, and being now situated on White Cliff, in company with a party of young ladies and gentlemen, have concluded to write for their special benefit.

While the sultry beams of an August sun is rendering intensely warm the villages, towns, and cities -- and even the well-shaded farm-houses -- what a delightful retreat is White Cliff Springs. Situated at and elevation of fifteen hundred feet above the level of the sea, it is free from all miasmatic influences; the air is pure and the continued breeze drives away the intense heat and renders the summer days delightful.

The party have deserted me, I am now sitting alone on White Cliff, and in every direction that I look the scenery is grandly beautiful. To my right far below lies the


and dotted with farms and farm-houses. Then rising in the distance, chain after chain of mountains, tall and majestic, but growing smaller and smaller to the view as the distance increases. To my left, the valley below, overspread with a thick vail of fleecy clouds -- shutting out from sight the entire valley, leaving slightly visible the tops of the mountains, looking like


The Springs, consisting of three different kinds of water, are highly beneficial to invalids of almost every description, while those in search of recreation and pleasure cannot find a more romantic and delightful spot.

The Hotel is crowded daily with an average of one hundred and twenty guests from Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee. Young and old enjoy themselves delightfully, and are highly pleased with the cordial welcome extended and good treatment given to them by Mr. Peck, the landlord and his estimable lady. The tables are spread with the best the country affords, and prepared in a manner that cannot be exceled.

The young people amuse themselves in many ways. Singing, playing innocent games, and an occasional "hop," visiting the springs, and the cliffs, tumbling rocks down the mountains, seem to be the favorite amusements of the morning and evening.

The cottages, numbering about forty, are well filled making in all about


visitors at the Springs. Hack loads are arriving daily. Though the hotel is crowded Mr. Peck manages to find room for all. The season will close about the first or middle of September. Those wishing to visit the Springs in East Tennessee can find none better than White Cliff, in every respect.

From the number of visitors now here, and taking every other advantage of the Springs and the surroundings into consideration, I think it well deserves to be what it really is, the favorite watering place of East Tennessee.

I will be home probably Monday or Tuesday. It is growing late, and with a few more lines I will close. Mr. Fisher is here sketching the scenery as viewed from the hotel, and White and Black Cliffs. He will have the paintings completed in a short time.

Mr. McCormick, a splendid Photographer from Selma, Ala., is also here taking pictures for all who desire them standing on the Cliffs and elsewhere.

I have just been informed of a little incident that took place a few days ago. A young gentleman visited the cliff above the bathing house, and not knowing that the house was located below him on the main road, started a four hundred pound rock down the mountain, which descended with the velocity of a shell shot from a cannon, striking the house, in which then was a quantity of "mountain dew," and coming very near demolishing the building and precipitating it down the mountain. It is reported that he proposes to deliver a lecture to-morrow (Monday night) on the subject of "Gravitation, or the effects of a stone weighing four hundred pounds, thrown down a mountain will have against a still house." Whether this is true or not I can't say. But believe if he delivers the lecture he will undoubtedly do the subject justice.

There are many amusing incidents occurring hourly that I could mention, but my time and the space of your columns will not admit. In conclusion I will say to all who have never been here to come right along, they will never regret the trip. I will not trespass further upon the patience of your many readers.


The August 17, 1871, issue of The Sweetwater Enterprise provided information about Mr. Hamilton McCormack's photograph of the cliff. He was a photographer who lived in Selma, Dallas County, AL at that time. As mentioned in this article, his photographs were stocked at Bogart & Mayes, an apothecary and bookseller shop located in Sweetwater, Monroe CO, TN. Mr. F. J. Fisher, a noted artist from Knoxville, TN, made preliminary sketches for an oil painting of the springs and surrounding area.

NOTE: Research herein found was done by Sandra N. Ratledge for this website only. Primary sources like these are the most accurate, reliable, and interesting historical accounts available. Such sources include deeds, advertisements, letters, and articles penned by White Cliff Hotel guests and visitors with real-life, first-hand experiences. Some articles were transcribed, edited, and typed into html by Sandra N. Ratledge for this website only.

This site is dedicated to the memory of my parents, Tommy and Beulah (Cline) Nipper.

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Sandra Ratledge

All you kinfolks, put some mail in that old box!