Raleigh Springs

    ... and the Raleigh Inn  
         and the Maddox Seminary, and the James Sanitorium



The Raleigh, Tennessee area was first settled around 1816 by a trapper named Tapp.  In 1824, Tennessee chose this area for the county seat and the new town was named Raleigh by Joseph Graham, in honor of his North Carolina home.  The town quickly grew, but in 1866 the courts moved to Memphis and Raleigh became a sleepy community.  In the late 1800s Raleigh saw a revival with the popularity of the springs in the area, which were noted for their purity and medicinal properties.  The first spa was advertised in 1842.  Trains began bringing Memphians for dances and fairs held on the grounds.  A boom was in the making...

Raleigh Inn  


Raleigh was 127 feet above Memphis.  The formation around the town consisted of layers of sand with clay, and contained beds of Lignite and marl and sand colored with iron oxides.  In 1842, Dr. David Coleman accidentally discovered the medicinal virtues of the excellent springs located around the old "Tapp's Hole".  The spring's temperatures were from 68 to 74 degrees.  Coleman immediately built a hotel near the springs.  Several others soon followed.  To help promote the area, a narrow gauge railroad was established from Memphis to Raleigh in 1873. 

Raleigh Springs

Raleigh Springs



1868 1870 1871 1872 1873 1873

  Franklin House Ad 1870 Franklin House Ad 1872 Franklin House C. 1920
 The Raleigh Inn  

In 1892, the tobacco-rich Duke family of North Carolina erected a grand hotel at the Springs and named it "Raleigh Inn".  The resort was a rambling wooden structure, four stories high, with turrets, balconies, and verandas, along with 100 rooms, and "all the usual" to please visitors.  They added gazebos around the springs and linked them to the hotel via stone paths in the beautiful woods.  On weekends, full orchestras played for dances in the grand ballroom.  Raleigh and the Raleigh Inn became the place to see and be seen.  It was GREAT...

J. B. Duke

The Raleigh Inn


"Within a short electric ride of Memphis, or an hour and a half's charming drive over a splendid pike" . "Electric lights, call bells, bath and toilet rooms, sewers, wire screens on all outside openings, local and long distance telephone, all add to the comfort of the guests" . " ... amusements - fishing, frog shooting, tennis, bicycling, billiards, etc."  The hotel also hosted band concerts, grand balls, and military drills by the Chickasaw Guards.


Raleigh Springs Streetcar


Raleigh Inn Raleigh Inn Raleigh Inn 1900

Bridge from Streetcar stop


Raleigh Inn The Route to Springs The Route to Srings Gazebo at Springs


And the Raleigh Springs will treat:  "Eczema, ulcers, sore throat, tonsilitis, Gout, rheumatism, sronfula, summer complaint, acid diarrhoea, neuralgia of stomach, nausea, gravel, cystitis, catarrh, teething, and diseases of young children, cardiac weakness, dropsy, liver complaint, chronic diseases, torpor of the digestive organs, jaundice, malaria, anaemia and catarrhal conditions of the abdominal biliary colic, malaria, anemia, sick headache, ..."

<  This 1903 booklet discusses the hotel and the treatments.  (Collection Memphis Public Library)



Page 1

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Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15

The Raleigh Inn had a good 10 year run and then the Raleigh Springs water tables began dropping and the Springs began drying up.  By then Memphis had its own clean water via the discovery of the Artesian Wells.   The Springs were no longer the place to be seen.  The grand Raleigh Inn closed in 1903.

  Trolley Turnaround


The Maddox Seminary for Young Ladies

The Maddox Seminary for Young Ladies immediately opened in the Raleigh Inn building in 1903.   This was a natural fit because A. S. Maddox had been the manager of the hotel when it closed.  He was also behind the prestigious Maddox Seminary located in Little Rock, Arkansas.  He had been planning an expansion of the school in Memphis.  But by 1907 the Maddox Seminary had moved on ...

A. S.. Maddox  


  Maddox Bio Maddox Seminary Directory 1904 Maddox 1911
The James Sanatorium

Charles B. James of the James Sanatorium took over the Raleigh Inn building around 1907.  In 1912, a patient smoking in bed, caused a fire and the old wooden hotel burned to the ground.  It was not rebuilt and afterwards the site was completely abandoned.  James was well known in the area and generally well-respected but his noted Sanatorium moved around, perhaps a bit too much?.  That should have raised red flags.  After the Raleigh Inn burned, he moved to 692 Alabama.


James Sanatorium 1910       James Sanatorium James Sanatorium 1907 1912 692 Alabama

1904 1906 1907 1907 1916 Sanatorium Bottle

In the 1906 Medical Critic and Guide, there is a lengthy article which lists all  the nom de plumes of Chas B. James, his bankruptcies, his deceptions, and the many judgments against him and the James Sanatorium.  Yet he continued in business, well into 1916.


1906 Medical Critic and Guide


Today, there's no indication that anything was ever built in the springs area and not even a bronze marker.







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