top of page

Fort Savannah Inn



FS Banner.jpg

The Fort Savannah Inn and Motel ~1990

The pool and the prefab motel unit are visible behind the log building



July 28, 1966: The original Old Red Mill Directors resign.

“. . . the present Board of Directors of the Old Red Mill, Inc. do hereby as a body and individually resign and do thereby divest themselves of any and all responsibility and obligation for said corporation . . .”


August 6, 1966: New Directors of the Old Red Mill are elected.

This was the first meeting of the Directors following the Detch's purchase of the outstanding stock. The Corporation issued new certificate of stock to the five Detch family members: John Jr., Charlotte, Paul, Ethel, Rosalie, and John Sr.; the five Detch family members were elected to be Directors.


August 6, 1966:  A second Stockholders meeting was held at 11:00 PM that night.

New corporate officers were unanimously elected: President – Rosalie Detch, V. President - Charlotte Detch; Secretary and Treasurer – John Detch.

John Detch then stated “. . . the present purpose of the management was to prepare the grounds and buildings for suitable use as a restaurant and place of exhibits of matter that may be of interest to tourists . . “


Summer 1966: The kitchen addition is constructed.

Although no records have been located that indicate why the Detches wanted to acquire the Old Red Mill corporation, the Stockholder Meeting Minutes from August 6 and December 22 suggest that they had been actively planning to establish the Fort Savannah Inn and restaurant and began construction in July.


Paul Detch, son of John and Rosalie Detch, shared his memories of the construction of the kitchen addition to the log building with Cliff baker in 2023:

Logs for the kitchen addition came from the Oliver house which was between Friars Hill and Williamsburg. Elmer Zimmerman had removed the flooring from the house (it was not used at Fort Savannah) so only the log walls remained. The logs had to be dropped off the side of the building and since Paul had learned about rock climbing and how to belay, it was his job to get them down safely. Fink, a laborer on the job, also helped with a rope and while Paul was belaying a log, Fink's watch got loose so he grabbed for the watch and dropped his rope. Paul was barely able to get the log down without anyone getting hurt. Elmer Zimmerman had set up a large tripod that was used to lift the logs into position to form the walls of the kitchen.


December 22, 1966: This was a very consequential meeting with three important agenda items.

Kitchen Addition  A full service inn needs to have a restaurant

“. . . the corporation had insufficient funds (in July 1966) with which to undertake the construction and improvement of the Old Red Mill property . . . it was agreed that they (Rosalie and John Detch) would furnish materials, labor, and advance the necessary costs for the proper construction of an addition to the Old Red Mill property . . . She (Rosalie Detch) thereupon submitted a statement . . . showing the costs of construction of the addition to the building of the Old Red Mill to be in the sum of $14,354.60 . . . “

Land Acquisition  Additional property is needed for the motel to access Lafayette St.

“It was agreed that the said John L. and Rosalie S. Detch would acquire the house and lot of the Greenbrier Military School (Deed 233-634) which lies on Lafayette St, the Alma Wickline lot (Deed 234-172) which lies north of the Old Red Mill lot, and the Carol Gene Wickline lot (deed 235-454) which lies to the east of the property and on Lafayette St.”


“. . . it was agreed that the building would be altered, repaired and made suitable for the operation of a restaurant to be known as Fort Savannah Inn . . . “


December 30, 1967: Construction of the motel is underway.

“Thereupon John L. Detch as Secretary and Treasurer of the corporation informed the meeting that satisfactory progress is being made in the buying of materials for, and the construction of, the 21-unit motel”


January 3, 1968 Construction continues.

“Note: The corporation is now in the process of constructing the 21-room motel building and the footers are in and the cinder blocks laid to the top of the the first or lower floor. No accurate estimate can now be made of its worth or the costs incurred to this time on the new construction.”


June 1977:  Additional motel rooms are needed.

In 1977 the decision was made to expand the motel so additional rooms would be available to rent during the State Fair. There was not enough time to build a new unit on site so to have the new rooms ready for visitors to the Fair, prefabricated units were used to assemble a new motel unit.

FSI Prefab.jpg

A two room prefab motel unit is being put in position as the second floor of the building.


July 9, 1982 Deed 350-115: Rosalie Detch sells the Ft. Savannah Inn  to Savannah Associates for $1,245,000.

“. . . all of that certain tract or parcel of real estate, together with the buildings and improvements located thereon and the easements and appurtenances thereunto belonging . . . The aforesaid real estate is the same as that conveyed . . . by John L. Detch and wife, and by Rosalie S, Detch and others, by deeds 236-385 dated December 29, 1966 (the GMS and Wickline lots), and 214-16 dated August 1, 1961 (the original Blue Grass Mill lot). . . ”

January 30, 1987 Deed 380-24: Rosalie Detch purchases the Inn for $500,000 at the Courthouse auction for $500,000.00.

“Trustee,. . . did personally sell the real estate hereinafter described and conveyed at public auction at the front door of the Courthouse on the 30th day of January, 1987 at 11:30 a.m . . . at which sale the said Old Red Mill, Inc, . . . became the purchaser for the sum of five hundred thousand and 00/100 dollars . . . “


December 27, 1999 Deed 459-873: Rosalie Detch sellls the Ft. Savannah Inn  to Chandan LLC for $835,000.

“. . . The Old Red Mill, Inc. . . conveys, with covenants of Special Warranty of title, all of that certain parcel of real estate, together with all of the buildings and improvements situate thereon and the rights appurtenant thereunto. . . Witness the signature and seal: the Old Red Mill, Inc. by Rosalie Detch, its President.”


November 30, 2011: Yelp review

"HORRIBLE place. Cheap price means you get what you paid for!! This place should be shut-down. . . . We travel often and this place, was by far, the WORST experience EVER. . . . Whoever regulates the hotel/motel industry in that area should close them down. "


June 27, 2013 Deed 560-669: The Ft. Savannah Inn is sold to Appalmad (the predecessor of MOntwell Commons for $450,000.

" . . . does grant, sell, and convey . . . the land, improvements, and appurtenances . . .(described in) the deed recorded in Deed Book 459, page 876.

“Grantee acknowledges that . . . the property is conveyed “as is” and “with all faults” . . .

“Grantee accepts that Grantor has disclaimed any . . . guarantees concerning the property including i. The value, condition, . . . fitness for a particular use of the property, ii . . . the quality of the construction or materials. . . , iii . . . the state of repair or lack of repair. . . “


Shortly after purchasing the property, Appalachian Mountain Advocates made plans to tear down the two motel buildings, renovate the log building, and open a new restaurant. Since demolishing the rundown motel buildings would remove the eyesore from the entrance to downtown Lewisburg, the City helped pay for the demolition. Renovation of the log building involved replacing the roof structure, replacing the electrical and plumbing systems, and installing modern HVAC, sprinkler, and fire alarm systems. The next year, the property was transferred to the Greenbrier Valley Restoration Project, a 501(c)(3) organization, by deed 569-236.


Additional photographs and information about the Fort Savannah Inn can be read by clicking here.



The Greenbrier Independent newspaper clippings were copied from the newspaper digital archives at the Greenbrier Historical Society. Other newspaper articles, photographs, and reports were copied from the Greenbrier Historical Society Reading Room “Business Series 1, container 7, Businesses: N+O” file box.

bottom of page