By Jesse Wood
Instead of a ceremonial groundbreaking with shovel in hand, Fulton and Denise Lovin took an ax to an interior wall on Thursday evening to celebrate the beginnings of their renovation of the historic H.W. Horton Building into the Horton Hotel.
The Lovins are turning the old building in downtown Boone into a hip and cozy, three-story boutique hotel with an elevator, a cocktail lounge and rooftop deck with a fire pit. The 9,000-square-foot building will have 14 rooms, and parking is located at the Lovins’ Pads for Grads lot on Howard Street.
The renovation project will incorporate many historical and local elements.
H.W. Horton built the building decades ago, around the 1920s, and his name adorns the top of the building. A giant picture of H.W. Horton sitting on a horse in military garb during Boone’s centennial celebration in 1949 will be placed on the wall near the hotel’s entrance.
“The vision at this point is to have rooms uniquely decorated and pull on themes from the Blue Ridge Parkway, Tweetsie and Boone Drug and other aspects we know as locals to be so important to who we are, and we’ll have that sprinkled into the décor and space,” Denise Lovin said.
Also speaking at the ceremonial groundbreaking: Fulton Lovin, Downtown Boone Development Coordinator Virginia Falck and Mast General Store owner and Appalachian Theatre of the High Country Chair John Cooper. (The latter accepted a $25,000 donation from the Lovins for the restoration of the Appalachian Theatre.)
“This is just going to resonate with all the businesses here to have a place for people to stay in downtown. I am really excited about their plans to showcase and preserve the history of this building,” Cooper said. “That is really smart and businesses should all do this. That’s why people come downtown. It’s neat, and they like to see that history reflected.”
Falck released a statement on Friday afternoon summing up what she talked about:
“The Horton Hotel will contribute to the ever increasing diversity of businesses in downtown. Business diversification indicates a healthy economy and an increase in commerce, and it’s because of the support and vitality of our local business community, entrepreneurs, like Denise and Fulton, can see their innovative and creative business venture come to fruition. Boutique hotels have been popping up in our region over the last decade. Communities where these hotels are realized see positive economic impacts, and we excited about the Horton Hotel’s contribution to downtown Boone.”
Fulton Lovin took time to thank those contributing to the renovation project.
Lovin thanked the Town of Boone and some its departments – Planning, Public Works Fire, Sanitation – and staff, including Town Manager John Ward, Director of Cultural Resources Pilar Fotta and Falck.
He thanked engineer Patrick Beville and staff at IONCON, including Quint David. Lovin thanked LifeStore staff for helping finance the project, and Destination by Design’s Beth Jacquot, a graphic designer who created the Horton Hotel logo and Teresa Buckwalter, co-founder and principal.
Others thanked included The Inn at Ragged Garden owners Rob Dyer and Lisa Stripling; builders Max and Harry Schrum; Tina Houston, owner of Reid’s Catering Co.; Fulton’s mother-in-law Susan; Fuschia Moss Floral Design; and Frederick Coffey, an expert bar motif designer.
Fulton stated that he came to Boone to attend App State in 1977 and was fortunate to be able to stay, living, working and playing within about 200 yards ofbthe hotel’s location on King Street for pretty much all of the past 40 years.
“Needless to say downtown has been very important to me,” Lovin said. “Over the years, we’ve lost some of our downtown. I was here when they tore the Daniel Boone Hotel down and then the Appalachian Theatre closed, and all of a sudden, Boone was a little bit different. So we hope that the Horton with its focus on history and unique local feel can remind us of a little piece of the past while offering a service that is greatly needed in downtown.”
For more information, follow progress at The Horton Hotel Facebook page.