In 1981, Don and Sandy Headrick decided they would build a motel in Townsend. It was not the first time they had traveled down that road. In 1971, after working for a good company (Alcoa), Don knew he wanted to work for himself. Don and Sandy purchased a beautiful old lumber company-era house on what was then State Highway 73, now US Highway 321 (East Lamar Alexander Parkway) in the center of Townsend. Don and Sandy would have loved to have saved the old house, but really needed a business to provide for their growing family, not a home. Townsend Grocery opened its doors in 1972 providing a full line of groceries for Townsend residents. The store is now operated by their son, Stephen, and is called Parkway Grocery.
Not long after opening the store, Don decided that building was so much fun he wanted to do more, so he formed Don Headrick Construction Company and began doing residential and light commercial building construction. Don worked the successful construction business and Sandy worked in the grocery store. Most kids grow up playing with blocks; Stephen and Emily (their two children) grew up playing with the snuff cans and stacking them and other grocery items in the store. Everyone was happy.
Then, one day, when taking a long look at where they lived, they pondered what they might like to do with more of their lives. Considering several points of fact, Don suggested, and Sandy agreed, that they should build a motel. That’s when it started. They drew plans, figured out financing, and, in 1981, they purchased the property for their inn.
The property they purchased was located on a hill and had a beautiful view of the mountains. This location was up the hill and would have been a bit east and behind a former row of lumber company houses which overlooked the Little River railroad and Lumber Company mill pond. The property was called the “Company Farm.”
Had they not done it, they probably would not have believed that they could build a motel in 6 months. Ground was broken in December of 1981 and the first room was rented in June of 1982, the year of the Knoxville World’s Fair. They didn’t have very many World’s Fair travelers, but did start a part of their lives that has been very fulfilling with the many friends they have made over the years and the various situations they have experienced.
Over the years Don and Sandy have had the Inn (40 years now), they continually upgrade, renovate and maintain the inn so it is as great a place to stay as it was in the beginning. Actually, it may be better since they have more experience of “how to operate an inn” and have learned how to please their guests. Part of that involves the famous muffins on the continental breakfast menu!
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