ABINGDON, Va. (WJHL) – The Martha Washington Inn is the centerpiece of downtown Abingdon.

The boutique hotel has called the plot along Main Street home for over 190 years.

However, throughout the decades, it’s changed faces a number of times, serving a number of different purposes.
“The Martha was built in 1832 by General Francis Preston. He built it for his wife, Sarah Buchanan Preston, and their nine children,” said Executive Manager of the Martha Washington Inn Samantha Caudell.

Caudell said what started as a private residence did not remain as one. Throughout the decades the now inn served as a makeshift hospital during the war and even a women’s college for seven decades.
Following the closure of the college, the estate reopened as a hotel in 1935, slowly transforming into the boutique inn seen today. Caudell told News Channel 11 the inn has hosted a slew of famous faces throughout the years.

“We’ve had Jimmy Carter, Eleanor Roosevelt, Ladybird Johnson, Harry Truman when he campaigned in Southwest Virginia he stayed here and Edith Wilson actually went to college here. She enrolled in Martha Washington College at the age of 15 and studied music,” she said.

Those who have walked the halls said it’s more than just an inn and compared the visit to walking inside a history book.

“There are so many other businesses on Main Street that have that history draw but for The Martha, I think what makes it unique is that we have so much memorabilia along the walls so if you come here, you could spend hours walking through our property and seeing letters from some of the women who went to college here, their yearbook pictures, and the clubs they were in. We have so much rich history here that’s just lined on our walls and you wouldn’t get that if you stayed somewhere else,” said Caudell.

Many people visit for the history, but they stay for what the inn offers present-day.

“We have a 24/7 heated saltwater pool, we have a fitness center, a relaxing Jacuzzi out back that’s close to our 18-hole mini golf course, our tennis court, and our pickle ball court,” said Caudell.

With 63 rooms on the property, each with its own unique story, it’s the perfect place to stay when checking out what else the town has to offer. Town tourism officials said the inn is a proven boost to the overall economic profit of the town.

Memberships are also offered at the Martha, it’s a way they’re hoping to encourage locals to indulge in the history offered here in their own backyard.