Pinhook Plantation House

Historic Calhoun dwelling was built in 1810

JOYANNA LOVE Banner Senior Staff Writer
Posted 5/30/15

CALHOUN — Underneath its modern siding and wallpaper, the Pinhook Plantation house holds history.

The house was built in 1810 by the Alexander family.

“They were originally from the …

This item is available in full to subscribers

Pinhook Plantation House

Historic Calhoun dwelling was built in 1810


CALHOUN — Underneath its modern siding and wallpaper, the Pinhook Plantation house holds history.

The house was built in 1810 by the Alexander family.

“They were originally from the Asheville, North Carolina area,” Cleveland resident and current owner Ellen Smith said. “Calhoun was established and taken over by McMinn County and Polk County.”

The historic house is in Calhoun.

The original bricks are covered on the outside by wooden planks and siding. The house is said to be built with bricks made by slaves.

The foundation is made of stone.

“It is a true four square, that used to have the foyer go right out to the back,” smith said. “And there was a summer kitchen in the back.”

The summer kitchen was torn down in the 1970s.

Today the true square has been added onto with a lean-to style kitchen. Smith said this was in keeping with how additions would have been done at the time the house was built.

It once boasted a ballroom, but it was later destroyed.

The house now has five bedrooms and four baths. Originally it had three bedrooms.

“We had to tear out walls to get the fireplaces replaced,” Smith said. “Someone had put a closet all the way across.”

Smith said she ripped up carpet to find as much of the original flooring as possible.

“I love old houses,” Smith said.

Many of the uncovered fireplaces are the original bricks. However, the one in the gathering room is not.

Since there was a fire in the house in the 1920s, Smith thinks the original fireplace was destroyed and a new one built.

The floors in the foyer and stairway are also original to the house.

The attic has the rough-hewn beams visible.

The oldest deed for the home is from a the sale in 1843. The description uses natural land marks to describe the boundary lines. There had been a fire at the courthouse in the 1830s destroying records that had been stored there. There was another fire in 1936.

The house has been the site of a duel and a Civil War fight.

“The Confederates were here because … it’s a huge vantage point,” Smith said. “Then the Yankees came and took it over and there was a skirmish on the hill.”

She said she thinks the goal was to take the house, since it was not burned down.

“There was a sister house that looked just like this, I believe it was down river on the other side. They burned it down, but it was down low so it didn’t really serve anyone (an advantage),” Smith said.

Local folklore holds that during the skirmish for Pinhook a horse got into the house.

As with many old houses, Pinhook Plantation has its ghost stories, proliferated by a local schoolteacher in the 1960s and 1970s.

Local legend also holds that the root cellar in the side of a nearby hill was a part of the Underground Railroad, leading to a room under the house for runaway slaves to stay.

Smith said the room has been bricked in and the root cellar filled in, so there is no access to it.

After the Civil War, the plantation was owned by freed slaves and was a sharecropper farm.

“I have run across people in Chattanooga who will say, ‘Oh, my dad and I used to farm out there,’” Smith said.

The Trotter family owned the house before Smith.

“I bought it to be a bed and breakfast,” Smith said.

While running the bed and breakfast, she has met people from around the world. A descendant of Nancy Ward was one of them.

According to an article in the “Polk County Scrapbook,” by Stephen Miller, son of previous owner W.A. Miller, “The plantation got its name from its location on the pinhook curve of the Hiwassee River.”

When the Alexander family owned the house, they likely had a vast expanse of land.

“I’ve had people tell me everything from 600 acres to 10,000 acres,” Smith said. “It was huge.”

The original plantation has been divided and is now the property of several different owners.

The house has retained three acres.

Anderson Miller did much of the renovation to the house in the 1980s.

While Miller had told his sons he wanted the land kept in the family, a daughter sold it. It was then tthe land was divided into different sections, according to Smith.

Nods to history can also be seen in the large rocks that sit in the yard. Smith said these were grinding stones.

An elevated walkway leading to what is now a carport, had originally been installed for getting into carriages.

The largest tract of the original planation still intact is about 500 acres. The surroundings look very different than they would have when the Alexander family built the plantation house. Modern houses and subdivision are close by. But if one steps out on to the upstairs balcony, a smaller version of the original veranda, and looks across the sky to the right, they will see the same far off hills the Alexander family would have seen in 1810.


Coldwell Banker Hamilton & Associates is handling the sale of this property.


No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment


Print subscribers have FREE access to by registering HERE

Non-subscribers have limited monthly access to local stories, but have options to subscribe to print, web or electronic editions by clicking HERE

We are sorry but you have reached the maximum number of free local stories for this month. If you have a website account here, please click HERE to log in for continued access.

If you are a print subscriber but do not have an account here, click HERE to create a website account to gain unlimited free access.

Non-subscribers may gain access by subscribing to any of our print or electronic subscriptions HERE