Mentone Springs Hotel is on the National Register of Historical Places and is one of the oldest hotels in Alabama.
Built in 1884 by Dr. Frank Caldwell of Pennsylvania, the hotel was finished but still lacking a name. Dr. Caldwell was living in the home of John Mason, whose daughter, Alice, had read accounts of Queen Victoria’s visit to a place called Mentone in France. The news item had given the meaning of Mentone as "a musical mountain spring." She suggested the same name be given to this spot where a rippling mountain spring flowed. Dr. Caldwell liked the idea and named his new inn Mentone Springs Hotel.
Mentone Springs Hotel was widely advertised as one of the most healthful and attractive spots in the South from June to October. On-site recreation included swimming and fishing in the river, tennis, bowling, croquet, billiards, box golf, dancing and a playground for children.
Two springs on Hotel grounds, Mineral Springs and Beauty Springs, were believed to have strengthening and curative properties. Beauty Springs could be reached via a shaded pathway, which led along the brink of the mountain for a distance of about 200 yards. Nearby Mineral Springs, sometimes called Loring Springs, was sheltered by a two-story pavilion overlooking Wills Valley, two thousand feet below.
Between 1918 and 1920, the property sold several times and effects of the depression made it impossible for owners to keep the Hotel in satisfactory condition and accommodate large crowds. The last large group to meet in Mentone was the Baptist Assembly in 1931.
The Mentone Springs Company leased the hotel to several different operators, none of which was able to achieve much success during this period, and the hotel closed for several years.
Numerous other owners between 1931 and today strived to preserve the integrity of the property and to successfully run it as a hotel/B&B. In 2010, two families with a history and love of Mentone, purchased the Hotel and committed to restoring the property as the centerpiece of the mountain community.
The Hotel is stately with wrap-around porches, a trio of fireplaces in the drawing room and recently refreshed décor. It has five suites with private baths and four bedrooms with shared European-style bath accommodations. Dining rooms can accommodate 200 people for weddings and events, and a private dining room on the verandah can host intimate engagements or gourmet meals from May to October.
1884-1890 : Dr. Frank Caldwell
1890-1915 : Charles Loring (Loring Springs Hotel)
1915-1921 : Mentone Springs Hotel and Realty Company
1921-1946 : Mentone Springs Company (Alabama Baptist Convention)
1946-1950 : Edward H. Moore
1950-1961 : Four changes of ownership
1961-1979 : Norville Hall
1980-1991 : Ray and Sandra Padgett
1991-1996 : Charles Johnson
1996-2001 : Dave and Claudia Wassum
2001-2009 : Andy Talton
2010-2013 : Jim and Darlene Rotch