A Brief History of Pasadena Villa’s Smoky Mountain Lodge

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The campus was designed to provide a healing environment through a visual and tactile connection with the majesty of the Great …

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The campus was designed to provide a healing environment through a visual and tactile connection with the majesty of the Great Smoky Mountains and our unique clinical program of Social Integration.

There are many elements of North American national park lodge “Parketecture” in the design of Smoky Mountain Lodge, with strong influences from the feel of the Fairmont Lake Louise Lodge and the Jasper Park Lodge, both in Alberta, Canada.

Smoky Mountain Lodge is an incredibly stout, solid masonry building externally clad in locally quarried Tennessee ledge stone, with an interior fireplace and columns of natural river stone from the French Broad River.  A combination of native materials and huge expanses of high tech glass are used throughout to bring a sense of the outdoors inside. The fireplace mantel is a single local stone slab weighing nearly three thousand pounds.  The ceilings in the great room and dining wings are hand selected and hand finished local pine, while most floors throughout the Lodge are of select travertine marble imported from Tuscany, Italy.

The present structure incorporates select portions from the previous white pine clad Wonderland Hotel, built on this site by Darrell Huskey in 1992 to carry on the tradition of the first Wonderland Hotel (later the Wonderland Club Hotel).

The original, Wonderland Hotel was built as a wood structure at Elkmont in 1912, in an area that is now part of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  Closed in 1992, the original Wonderland Hotel fell into disrepair and was razed by the National Park Service in 2006.  Some relics of the original hotel are currently held in the archives of the Park Preservation Society.  The name of the road that bisects the property, Wonderland Lane, originates with the historic Elkmont property.

Smoky Mountain Lodge was completely redesigned and rebuilt by the Kachmarik-Williams-Orr team to bring the views of The Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s Cove Mountain into the main lobby and bedrooms, while retaining much of the original charm of the early twentieth century “parketecture”.

Smoky Mountain Lodge is situated at the western edge of The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which can be seen through the enormous front windows of the great room.  With about ten million visitors annually, GSM is by far the most visited national park in the American National Park system, greatly exceeding the combined visitation of the next two most visited national parks, the Grand Canyon and Yosemite.  The fourth most visited national park is Yellowstone, with about three million visitors per year.

Each of the 32 bedrooms include “ensuite” bathrooms with roll in showers, individualized climate control, Italian travertine marble walls and floors, and spectacular views of the mountains and gardens through large room width windows.  Furnishings are all custom designed and handcrafted of select local softwoods and hardwoods by local cabinetmaker John Frye, and the beds feature memory foam spa mattresses.

The dining room contains a unique “floating banquet table” designed by George Kachmarik.  It is constructed of steel and covered in Southeast Asian tiger wood.  This table is the largest of its design in the world.  It is used daily for communal banquets and meals.  The chairs, with the embedded horseshoes and Beachwood saddle seats, were designed by Jennifer Kachmarik to complement our equine assisted psychotherapy program.

The main staircase is built of steel clad in locally quarried “crab orchard” natural Tennessee ledge-stone slabs to match the fireplace mantel.  The fireplace and main columns are clad in over forty thousand local river rocks.  The stair structure, although visually light and airy, weighs an estimated twenty six thousand pounds. The stair and balcony railings were designed by Jennifer Kachmarik, and evoke images of local flora and fauna. They were then hand crafted and custom powder coated by NASCAR builder Greg Purkey.

The garden level exercise area features dramatic mountain and garden views, full mirrored walls, and a unique “spiral fractal design” dance floor of inlaid Asian tiger wood, designed by George Kachmarik.

The elevator, selected by project electrician and chief engineer C. Michael Williams, is an ultramodern KONE design from Finland, with full digital controls and a glass walled car encased in a soaring tower of natural Tennessee ledge stone.

The round “castle tower” with the “copper turret” designed by George Kachmarik, at the entrance, houses a cutting edge modern water purification system designed by chief engineer C. Michael Williams, and holds a tank containing over eight thousand gallons of purified natural spring drinking water.

The front formal gardens, designed by George Kachmarik, and planted and managed by Paul Orr, are inspired by the Frederick Law Olmsted gardens located at George Vanderbilt’s Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC.

The water falls, along with the NW Rose Garden and the SW Herb and Vegetable Gardens were designed by George Kachmarik and built by Paul Orr.  The hundreds of exotic species of plantings throughout the nearly seventeen acres of Lodge grounds and gardens were individually and personally selected by Paul Orr.

The massive fire suppression system, also designed by C. Michael Williams, contains a huge electric fire pump, and over 20 thousand gallons of emergency water stored in a uniquely designed underground tank.  The combination of this active fire suppression system with an essentially fireproof masonry, stone, glass and steel design makes Smoky Mountain Lodge one of the safest and most fire resistant buildings on planet earth.

The Lodge is decorated with a unique collection of art and paintings evoking the spirit of the Great Smoky Mountains.  Included are works by 19th century frontier landscape painter Albert Bierstadt, and prints by local artist Steve Spangler.  The collection features a watercolor titled “Great Smoky Mountains” by Zelda Fitzgerald, wife of F. Scott Fitzgerald, the author of “The Great Gatsby”.  Zelda, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia, completed this work while undergoing psychiatric treatment in Asheville in 1912. This painting is located in our Admissions Office, and is a reminder of the spirit of creativity of those who pass through our doors.

The Lodge also has an associated “chinked timber” log cabin across Wonderland Lane accessible by a walking path and custom built stairway.  This structure was one of the original cabins built in the Wonderland Acres area.  Alongside this cabin is a stone carriage house that houses the admissions office.  With new visitors enjoying the ever changing views of the Great Smoky Mountains, the history of this property continues to evolve every day.

The Villa Orlando and Pasadena Villa’s Smoky Mountain Lodge are adult intensive psychiatric residential treatment centers for clients with serious mental illnesses. We also provide other individualized therapy programs, step-down residential programs, and less intensive mental health services, such as Community Residential Homes, Supportive Housing, Day Treatment Programs and Life Skills training. Pasadena Villa’s Outpatient Center in Raleigh, North Carolina offers partial hospitalization (PHP) and an intensive outpatient program (PHP). If you or someone you know may need mental health services, please complete our contact form or call us at 877-845-5235 for more information.

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If you’re ready to take the next step in the recovery process for you or your loved one, the compassionate team at Pasadena Villa is here to help. Give us a call at 877.845.5235 or complete our contact form.

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