In the late 1880s, Calvin Higdon learned that the railroad would be coming through Polk County, Tennessee. Mr. Higdon bought property on the Hiwassee River and eventually built a hotel that accommodated his family, railroad personnel, and travelers. The stop was very important to the railroad company; they called it “Higdon’s Station" even though the post office was known as Reliance. Previous to the building of the hotel, the Higdon family operated a small ferry to transport people across the Hiwassee River. A railroad bridge crossing the river was built in 1912, and the hotel was completed in 1914.
The Higdon Hotel is part of the Reliance Historic District, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. In July 1993, the Higdon Family Newsletter ran an article about the plans to renovate the Higdon Hotel. However, a trip in 1999 revealed that very little has been done. (Another trip in 2002 shows little change in the renovation.)
Located in the southeast corner of Tennessee, Reliance is a popular spot for people who enjoying rafting. Although a restaurant is located near the water outfitters, you really ought to pack a picnic lunch to fully enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Hiwassee River. Also, for you railroad buffs, do plan a stop at the railroad station in Etowah. (The vacationers in 2002 also give a thumbs up to the railroad station!)
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