The Mecklenburg Hotel & Sanitarium: 1903-1909
The Grand Mecklenburg Mineral Springs Hotel and Sanitarium
The Mecklenburg Hotel was the premier cultural epicenter for Southern Virginia when it first opened in 1904. The hotel was known for the mineral waters on its property that was used for medicinal purposes. The spring contained Lithia and Calcium Chloride, which were said to have “remarkable curative effects in all Kidney, Nervous, Stomach and blood disorders, Rheumatism, Gout, Malarial and Catarrhal and Skin Diseases”. For this reason, the Mecklenburg Hotel had a dedicated staff of trained nurses, attendants, and physicians to cater to guests seeking medical use of the springs.
Although the mineral waters were a major part of the draw, the Mecklenburg catered to guests' every need in a way that surpassed even the most luxurious hotels. The hotel consisted of one hundred and fifty rooms, all with electric lighting and the option of a private steam heated bath. It was once described as “the ideal health and pleasure resort…”, which is not surprising considering all the amenities guests received. These included a Ballroom, Orchestra, Billiard/Pool Room, Lecture Hall, Reading/Card/Smoking Rooms, Ladies Private Parlors, Sun Parlors, Porticos, Rotundas, Gymnasium, Bowling Alleys, Trap Shooting, Tennis Grounds, Golf Links, Livery Stables, Kennel and Children’s Playground. “The Mecklenburg Hotel was a permanent headquarters of the Virginia/Carolina Fox Hunters Association, having the largest membership of any club of its kind in the U.S. There was more than 20,000 acres of land in the Mecklenburg Game Preserves, and only guests of the Hotel were permitted to hunt thereon.”
The hotel caught fire in 1909 and slowly burned for four days. The Mecklenburg Hotel was never rebuilt because it was not fully insured as well as World War I finances that prevented the construction. This was followed by the decline of doctors recommending mineral waters as a type of health treatment to patients. Fortunately, many items, such as dishware and inkwells, were recovered from the hotel due to the slow burning of the fire. Chase City and Mecklenburg County patrons have donated some of these items to MacCallum More, which now functions as our Mecklenburg Hotel exhibit in the museum.