the opening of The Freeze House, the Montagues are
continuing a tradition of hospitality in Western
North Carolina. This tradition began, according
to available records, sometime around 1870 in a
rural area near Asheville, known as Brush Creek.
Mollie and Jess Williams, parents of Mrs. Freeze,
were proprietors of a large farm and opened their
home to summer visitors who were escaping the heat
of the cities in summer. The house was large,
with wrap around porches and tall shade trees.
Brush Creek babbling nearby was a great place to
wade in the hot summer. There was no electricity
or indoor plumbing, but the summer visitors seemed
to enjoy the ambiance, the country cooking, and
the lower temperatures.
Freeze House has the William's guest book for the
years 1913 - 1919. The pages are sprinkled
with the names from Savannah, Asheville, Birmingham,
Beaufort, and Atlanta. The guests in those
days indicated their age and marital status, and
on occasion, profession - in 1916, Hallie Dawson,
of Isle of Hope, Ga. listed herself as a vocal artist;
while in the same year, Frank Williams of Savannah
indicated that he was single, but "looking
for trouble". In August of 1916, Mrs.
M. C. Crotty of Savannah describes herself as a
"merry Widow"; in 1914, Hilda Berg of
Savannah lists herself as a "school marm".
In 1915, Mae Black, also of Savannah, describes
herself as an "old maid", whereas Arthur
Kennickell of Winston Salem says he is "independent".
times have changed!
Freezes began taking in summer guests in the early
1920's. Some early guest books exist in those
years, but alas, they are limited to names and addresses.
The Freeze's daughter, Margaret, married Kay Montague,
and in 1933 opened the Shamrock Inn on Main Street.
After Margaret's unexpected death, Kay moved to
Franklin, and for many years, with his second wife,
also Margaret, owned and operated the Dixie Grill
in downtown Franklin.