History

Welcome, we’re glad you’re here

Although we are still under renovation, we have seven rooms available to book for your stay.  Our inn features many scenic common areas to enjoy throughout your stay, a continental breakfast spread daily, and comfortable rooms with all  the modern conveniences nestled within this historic property.

Rich History

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Inextricably interwoven with the history of Tryon, Polk County, North Carolina and indeed the country from before the time of the American Revolution, through the Civil War and on, the GreenLife Inn at Mimosa sits with placid grace and charm.

The Mimosa Inn property began more than 200 years ago when 90,000 acres of land was deeded to John Mills. The Mills homestead was established on the current Mimosa Inn site. Dr. Columbus Mills inherited the estate and built a plantation for wayfarers. In 1885, the Mills home was one of only four farmhouses that could be referred to as “plantations” in Polk County.

 

Colonial Times

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Governor William Tryon of North Carolina sent Captain Thomas Howard into the mountainous backcountry to explore the possibilities of settling useable land.  On one of his expeditions, Captain Howard saved the life of a young Cherokee boy on White Oak Mountain. They became steadfast friends and Skyuka played  an important role in Captain Howard’s victories throughout the region, including suppressing a Cherokee Indian uprising in 1765 (about 4 miles from the property.) 

Ambrose Mills, great grandfather of Dr. Columbus Mills, lost his first wife and all of his children except for William in that Indian uprising. Later, During the Revolutionary War, Ambrose Mills was a colonel with British forces, commander of Tory Cavalry at the Battle of Kings Mountain on Oct. 7, 1780. He was captured and hung by American forces Oct. 14, 1780.  You have a view of White Oak Mountain and Skyuka Mountain off the front veranda.

The Civil War

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Abraham Lincoln was not on the ballot in NC when he was elected. When he asked for troops, then Governor John Ellis told Lincoln he could get no troops from North Carolina. Governor Ellis had a connection to Polk County having been married to a woman of the Pearson family in Saluda.

The Town of Columbus was established in 1855 and was named for Dr. Columbus Mills. Mills was heavily involved with creating Polk County and the town named for him was later established as the county seat in 1857.

In 1861, at age fifty-three, Dr. Mills joined fellow Polk county men and volunteered his services to the Sixteenth Regiment of North Carolina Troops and was named regimental surgeon.

His antebellum home stood two miles east of Tryon in Polk County; many years later it was enlarged and converted into Mimosa Inn.

The Mimosa Inn

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Following the Civil War, Columbus Mills sold the estate to Leland Reid McAboy, and it was then known as the McAboy house.  In 1903, Aaron French and William Stearn purchased the property and named it the Mimosa Inn because of the many beautiful mimosa trees that grew around the grounds.

French brought in his nephew, an architect and planned a major facelift of the old house, which added plumbing, heating and a hydraulic elevator. The casino and entertainment building was built in what was then the rear of the hotel.

When the renovations were finished, the Mimosa Inn, three stories high with 50 guest rooms was known as the most modern hotel in Western North Carolina. Each floor had a bathroom for the ladies and another for the men.

GreenLife Inn at Mimosa

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In 1916, the inn burned to the ground, leaving only four fireplaces standing. Stearns rebuilt the former casino, giving it 12 bedrooms, 12 baths, two lobbies and a dining room large enough to seat 100 people.

The Mimosa Inn stood as a hallmark of Tryon throughout most of the century. But when Mary and Kevin Parker first encountered it, the building was certainly past its prime.

The inn was in its heyday in the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s, and Parker said there will be some accent pieces among the more modern redecorations to channel that era.

Parker said a big focus of the renovation is making sure the inn “accommodates today’s traveler and today’s needs.”

“We are reducing our carbon footprint without sacrificing quality,” Parker said. 

“We’re renaming it (the Greenlife Inn at Mimosa) because it really is a new day,” Parker said. “We want to kind of slowly move the inn toward a new direction, without losing its history.”