Historic resort continues to evolve
- March 27, 2009
Reinvention is the key to survival, especially in the current economy. As hotels and resorts try to push through a tough year, they could learn a lesson from Historic Jordan Springs.
Since 1843, the property in Frederick County has been a site for three hotels. During the Civil War, the hotels were used as a hospital for both Confederate and Union soldiers — depending on which side held Winchester.
Jordan’s roots date back to 1549 when Catawba Indians used its mineral springs as a meeting place. The therapeutic powers of the springs set the stage for its later role as a resort, which reached its heyday during the late 1800s. During its nearly 200-year history, Jordan Springs has also been home to a monastery and a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center.
These days it continues to evolve as an event and cultural center. The lush expanse of 237 acres attracts weddings, corporate events and private parties. While overnight accommodations are no longer available, agreements with area hotels ensure that visitors have a bed when needed. “Because of the historical significance, we have trepidation about having overnight guests in the main building,” explains Colt Nutter, Jordan’s executive director.
But that could change in the future. “We’re thinking about putting cabins on the property.”
The property’s most recent, $3 million dollar renovation began nearly eight years ago under owners Tonie Wallace Aiken and Greig Aiken. For Tonie, it was an immediate, irrevocable decision. “When we drove into the driveway, I saw the statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the gazebo and the building. I looked at my husband and said, ‘Figure it out.’ I felt like I was supposed to be the keeper of the property during this time.”
So far, about 25,000 of the main building’s 48,000 square feet of meeting space are ready for business functions. Supplementing that space is a tent, replete with a wood and carpet floor that seats 500.
The recently completed carriage house can seat 100 for dining and is a favorite spot for wedding rehearsal dinners. Hardwood flooring is in the works in the lower level of the south wing, the original hotel building. While renovations continue, the quiet pastoral, beauty of Jordan Springs remains. Visitors today can enjoy the same brooks and springs that over the years were visited by Gen. Robert E. Lee and President Theodore Roosevelt. Reinvention doesn’t mean changing the best parts.