It was part of a town that no longer exists. Its property was the scene of death on a Civil War battlefield and attempts at rejuvenation in a health spa.
Now it is a five-room bed and breakfast that has attracted everyone from brides-to-be and Civil War enthusiasts to families of young athletes at nearby LakePoint Sporting Complex.
Lynn Smith, a real estate agent and registered nurse, and husband Dave, a semi-retired chemist, own and operate Lake Allatoona Inn on Old Allatoona Road in Cartersville.
Architect and builder J.C. Armstrong constructed the Victorian-styled mansion in 1893.
The Smiths bought the historic property and its 17-acre site in 2006 and put about $400,000 worth of renovations into it to create a bed and breakfast which opened in 2007.
The 5,500-square-foot, three-story house includes five guest rooms, a full kitchen, dining room and parlor dominated by a grand piano.
A second-floor, wrap-around veranda looks out on the lake, a marina and the entrance to a Civil War battlefield site.
It also includes another historic building near the house that the Smiths restored as an event or reception hall.
Mrs. Smith had helped her sister operate similar bed and breakfasts in Marietta and Tybee Island before she and her husband entered the business themselves.
Customers are almost split evenly between lake goers, people simply wanting a relaxing getaway, and those attending youth sports tournaments at LakePoint, she said.
The sporting venue in Emerson likely doubled her business since its opening in 2013, Smith said.
The innkeepers originally planned to only operate a bed and breakfast. However, customers eventually began asking about using its picturesque backyard for special events, she said.
“People just started doing weddings,” Smith recalled.
The Inn eventually began hosting between 30 and 50 weddings annually, she said.
The wedding part of the business eventually tapered off significantly but the Inn still does a brisk bed and breakfast business between Memorial Day and Labor Day, Smith said.
The original section of the house dates to the 1850s and its property was the scene of Civil War fighting during the Battle of Allatoona Pass in 1864.
Armstrong, who made his fortune through work on buildings still in use in historic Acworth today, rebuilt the house as a Victorian mansion in 1893.
He later built what is now the reception hall building as a general store for his son to sell goods to the residents of the town of Allatoona.
Diane Mooney, a member of the Etowah Valley Historical Society, lives in a neighboring residence known as the Clayton-Mooney Home which also dates to the pre-Civil War era.
Her home and Lake Allatoona Inn face the shore of Lake Allatoona and are the only structures from the former town of Allatoona still visible.
The federal government completed the dam on the nearby Etowah River and created the lake for electric power and flood control purposes in 1950.
It also submerged the town — which had been built on a creek that emptied into the Etowah — but spared the two 19th century homes and the battlefield site.
Armstrong’s family continued to live in the house into the 1960s, Mooney said.
In the mid-1980s, new owners from Atlanta and Marietta renovated it and operated it as an upscale women’s health spa named Southwind Health Resort.
Southwind advertised in magazines like Southern Living and was featured in publications like the New York Times.
It offered specialized nutrition and exercise programs and catered to area residents and celebrities before becoming a victim of the national economic recession in the early 1990s, Mooney said.
Afterward, attempts were made to convert it to a senior care facility before it sat vacant for more than a decade, Mooney said.
Another set of owners then bought it in the early 2000s and did some renovations before the Smiths bought it, Mrs. Smith said.