Maple Shade Inn remains alive

McCarthy 2By J.R. Schrader

Editor Emeritus


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.



2 Responses to Maple Shade Inn remains alive

  1. Casper

    May 7, 2014 at 9:57 am

    How many Pulaskians does it take to change a light bulb? 15. One to change the bulb and 14 to to say how nice the old one was.

    This one of the issues that Pulaski has. They live in the past, which is fine to an extent but what was is gone.

    It’s time for Pulaski to move forward. Create a place that people want to come to not leave.

    Make Pulaski a word that people are proud to say not a word that people sneer their lips and roll their eyes about.

    Example: The museum, all well and fine but take the name “Raymond F. Ratcliffe Memorial Transportation Museum”. If you take the word ‘memorial’ out of the name it doesn’t sound as dead. Raymond F. Ratcliffe can still take credit and his descendants along with him without using the word Memorial.

    As for the Maple Shade Inn. There is a beauty in the past but it is the future where we and our children will live. And as in everything it is all about the money.

    A top of the line night club, an arcade for youth, turn the furniture factor in to a group of night clubs.

    • Va Girl

      May 7, 2014 at 1:49 pm

      Personally, I’d like to see the old furniture factory torn down. It’s such an eyesore, but surely would take vast amounts of money we don’t have. Too bad we cannot draw an industry in that would want the location and be willing to do that themselves and rebuild on that spot.

      The arcade idea is not bad, but seems everyone has their own x-box (or whatever they play with). Yet I agree we need something for the kids. Shame we don’t have the funds for a pool like they have in Dublin. Add an arcade into that or something too so when it rains they can still go and use the facility.

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