STORY OF THE QUILT SQUARE COATS HOTEL: A MIRROR OF THE PAST BY
COATS EXTENSION HOMEMAKERS FOR HARNETT COUNTY HISTORICAL QUILT, 1989
Coats Hotel: A Mirror of the Past
is no special name for the tall wooden house with the giant columns in
front which faces Highway #55 going through Coats. The aged, stately
place, built in 1908 is known simply as "the old hotel.”
most of the 20th century the hotel has served as a kind of watering stop
for travelers coming through the Coats area. Its heyday was from the
time it was built until the late 1930's.
Coats Hotel was built by Ben Byrd, and operated for several years by
Mrs. Molly Stewart, grandmother of Mrs. Lib Curtis Guy, who is presently
living in Coats. Molly Stewart was the wife of Elmond Stewart. She ran
the place from about 1910 to the 1930's.
talking about how it was around the hotel, Delmar T. Grimes of Coats,
discussed with the reporter several interesting aspects of yesteryear.
noted that there was a long table at the hotel. Traveling men, mostly
from the railroad would stay there getting room and board.
said, "at the time most of the land around the hotel was farmland,
open fields, with few buildings. The salesmen would come and work Coats
for a while, then leave."
are no dramatic legends connected with the hotel. It is mostly a history
of longevity with a constant, devoted service to traveling people. Good
management obviously kept things and people in line.
appearance of the hotel, according to Grimes, is about the same as it
always was. The only thing missing now is a large open porch, located in
the back, upstairs and downstairs. It was always the large two-story
size it is today, including the colonial style architecture that
dominates the building. Some of Harnett County's noteworthy people have
lived in the hotel from time to time. Dr. Fred Fleming, reportedly
stayed there while practicing medicine. Vada Stewart, daughter of Molly
Stewart, lived there for years, raising 3 children.
Stewart, retired Vice-President of Carolina Power and Light Company, was
raised in the hotel from childhood to college years.
Harry Roberts and his wife, Mrs. Edna Butler of Coats, once lived there
for about 2 years during his internship.
Parrish from Lillington recalled the hotel where he used to stay while
traveling. He said, "it was a transient place for travelers, mostly
from the railroad for there were few cars." It was an American
Plan, meals and lodging. Mrs. Molly Stewart, owner, took a great deal of
pride and pleasure in serving watermelon to her guests every Christmas.
She had to go to special lengths to get it at times.
it goes, no glamorous tales, no chilling stories, however, it is
satisfying to know of a quiet, everyday type place that constantly was
open for the needs of traveling folks.
recent years the building has been divided into apartments.
by: Charles Malone, a news reporter Submitted by: Evangeline Stewart
Coats Extension Homemakers Club
Square: Row 7, Number 38
and Applique by: Ruth Parrish
Extension Homemakers Club