WEST JEFFERSON — For the first time in its 100-year history, The Historic Old Hotel in downtown West Jefferson is under new ownership.
“It’s bittersweet,” former co-owner Billie Jo Woodie said. “We’ve always been very proud to be owners of it, and it holds countless memories for each of us in the family.”
The Historic Old Hotel has been in the Woodie family since its construction in 1915, Woodie said, when West Jefferson first started planting its roots in Ashe County. Though departing with the historic building is tinged with sadness, she said her family is sure of its new owner, Mark Beck.
“I have confidence that he’s going to do right by it and the town of West Jefferson,” Woodie said. “We look forward to see how things play out in the years to come.”
With more than 30 years of experience in the restoration of historic buildings, West Jefferson’s Old Hotel marks Beck’s third venture on a project of this scale.
“This is not a first-time rodeo for me,” Beck said, adding that he owns arguably one of the most historic commercial buildings in Charleston, S.C., at 1 Broad Street, just across from the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon in the historic city.
Beck said that plans for the hotel are undetermined as of now, and his first step is to study its architecture.
“I’m a preservationist,” Beck said. “From a historical standpoint, it’s an exquisitely good building.”
With his restorations, Beck said he focuses on the original architecture of the building. From there, he puts “a new building inside of an old building,” updating it with modern infrastructure without changing its historic appearance.
“The building has a great story,” Beck said. “West Jefferson wouldn’t be West Jefferson without that hotel.”
Beck also said he is searching for old documents and photos of the hotel, noting that he is having trouble finding photos of the hotel’s interior. For anyone in the community that has photos or documents, Beck asked that they drop them off or mail them to Regency Properties at 204 East Main Street in West Jefferson.
“I’ll scan them, note the names of the people and likely date and then return the photos to whoever owns them,” Beck said.
The Historic Old Hotel sold for a total of $800,000, according to documents from the Ashe County Register of Deeds. The sale was finalized on Thursday, Aug. 1.