Sometimes things work out for the best when they don't go according to plan. It's hard to believe that back in 1888, mining entrepreneur Hugh MacRae envisioned Linville as a bustling manufacturing center with hundreds of buildings lining a grid of streets. Fortunately, he came to understand that Linville's potential was in its existing beauty, not future industry. As people fell in love with Linville for the special place it already was, MacRae's initial plans for the town fell away. A unique resort community began to form—the center of which has always been The Eseeola Lodge, as it continues to be today.
1891: Linville gets noticedHarvard professor William James visits Linville and writes, “At last, I have struck it rich here in North Carolina and am in the most peculiar and one of the most poetic places I have ever been in.” He begins construction on a new inn.
The newly complete inn hosts dancing, picnics, and more. The central building was chimney-topped, shingled, and gabled, surrounded by a wide veranda.
1892: A new inn is the hub of the community
Linville begins to develop into a resort destination. The inn creates a nine-hole golf course, adding five more holes in 1900. In 1924, work begins on a new championship golf course designed by the legendary Donald Ross. The old 14-hole course is later abandoned.
1892–1924: From nine holes to Donald Ross
Just at the start of the tourist season, the old inn burns. The resort strives to accommodate guests in the beautiful Chestnut Annex—named for its signature (and now irreplaceable) American Chestnut bark shingles selected by renowned architect Henry Bacon. A lounge, dining room, and kitchen are later added to the annex, and it is officially renamed The Eseeola Lodge.
1936: Fire and starting anew
Hard times hit Linville and The Eseeola Lodge is put up for sale. A group of residents—fast friends from many seasons together—purchase the entire resort in an effort to preserve it for future generations.
1944: What friendship can accomplish
Fire strikes the resort again, claiming the old golf clubhouse. The current clubhouse is rebuilt in the same location.
1952: Fire strikes again
Cottagers found the Linville Golf Club to make the golf course more private. The Eseeola Lodge adds a swimming pool, bathhouse, and pavilion for social functions.
1959: Linville Golf Club is established
John Blackburn is appointed as general manager in 1983. Linville Resorts begins to acquire adjoining property in 1986, which currently amounts to more than 3,000 acres.
1983–1986: New faces, new property
1992: The Golf Shop Passes to the Next Generation
Leadership of the golf operation at Linville Golf Club passes from Burl Dale to his son, Tom Dale.