Horton Hotel cemented as historic landmark


BOONE — The Horton Hotel, in addition to being a popular lodging and nightlife spot, is now a historic destination after the Boone Town Council approved a local historic landmark designation for the storied property during a council meeting on Wednesday, June 26.

The town’s Historic Preservation Commission approved a local historic landmark for the hotel in January, and the North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office provided further comment.

According to the official report, the property is significant for its association with Henry Walter Horton, a prominent figure who influenced tourism and economic development in Boone in the early 20th century and constructed the H. W. Horton building in 1929.

Henry Walter Horton lived from 1873 to 1968 and was a prominent realtor who cross promoted Boone and Florida tourism. As part of the Watch Boone Grow campaign of the time, Horton intended for the building to be his high-style contribution to downtown, which provided a striking increase in architectural sophistication. Horton would end up losing ownership of the building the same year it was built.

The building underwent a number of alterations early in its history, including its Horton crest cartouche, its prominent upper floor balconies and the alteration of its original storefront configuration. The building has also seen the addition of a rooftop bar in recent years.

According to the report, the Horton building is the best surviving resource associated with H. W. Horton and retains excellent integrity for interpreting the developer’s profound influence on Boone’s early 20th-century economic development and transition from a sleepy county seat to a major Appalachian tourism hub after World War I.

The Horton Hotel, as it is known today, opened its doors to guests in early 2019. The hotel, which was opened by Fulton and Denise Lovin, features 15 guest rooms and a bar and lounge on the ground level that are open to the public. The hotel’s rooftop bar and lounge are also a popular social space.

In 2021, the hotel changed ownership as it was acquired by SPA Properties, which also owns several off-campus housing options for Appalachian State Students. The company is run by App State alumni.

In February, the hotel received national exposure after it was featured on a segment on the popular game show The Price is Right. The giveaway, featured on TV’s longest-running game show, included a five-night stay at one of the Boone hotels’ suites and a $100 gift card to the bar.

Through the local historical landmark designation process, the town places a special historical, architectural and cultural significance on the building.