Maple Shade Inn. That identifying name will always be a part of the Town of Pulaski’s history.
The name is known by many people who never had the opportunity to visit the stately stone edifice nor eat a meal in the formal dining room.
On Wednesday, that name, Maple Shade Inn, was further implanted into the future of the town, when the Jane O. and Thomas J. McCarthy Sr. Gallery was dedicated at the Raymond F. Ratcliffe Memorial Transportation Museum.
Thomas McCarthy came to Pulaski from New York in 1933 to manage the Maple Shade Inn. Jane Osborne, raised in Grayson County, came to Pulaski later as a home economist for Appalachian Power Co.
He took on the additional duties of managing Hotel Pulaski, at the corner of N. Washington Avenue and Main Street.
G.C. Bowling owned Maple Shade Inn and was among owners of Hotel Pulaski. In 1940 Tom McCarthy Sr., acquired ownership of Maple Shade and a few months later joined with Hotel Pulaski Realty to purchase Hotel Pulaski.
He became involved in other major business endeavors in the town, too many known and others unknown, to bring and retain industries, businesses and jobs. He served on town council as member and vice mayor.
Mrs. McCarthy was a gracious host to visitors and mother of Tom McCarthy Jr., well-known local attorney, who was present for the dedication to welcome those to the ceremony and thank them for their presence and comments
Tom Sr. died Jan. 16, 1967. Mrs. McCarthy died May 12, 1969 at Meadow Creek Farm in Grayson County where she was raised.
There is more to the McCarthy-Maple Shade Inn-Hotel Pulaski story, too much to include here.
Thanks to Tom Jr. for his interest in keeping that history alive and visible to visitors of “The Ratcliffe.”
Maple Shade Inn was built in 1884 by the Norfolk & Western Railroad, with additions expanding the Inn in 1890. It covered the entire block, bordered by S. Washington Avenue, Commerce Street, S. Jefferson Avenue and First Street.
A stone wall, of which portions still remain, enclosed the facility. A garden and dark facilities were nearby, providing fresh homegrown vegetables, milk and dairy products.
The Inn was a destination for people from the South and Eastern Shore who came to the cool mountains for long summer vacations.
Travelers on the N&W and those motoring north and south were among those spending nights at Maple Shade. Even entertainers traveling by rail stopped in Pulaski and spent time at Maple Shade In.
The Inn was a destination for Greyhound buses, stopping and picking up passengers, just across Washington Avenue (Route 11, the main road north and south in this area).
Today the site houses county offices and the Raymond F. Ratcliffe Memorial Transportation Museum which tells the history of the town and area.