The Victorian shingle-style brick house that is now Prospect Hill Bed and Breakfast Inn was built in 1889 of hand-made brick by Joseph Wagner, who served as a major in the Union Army during the Civil War. Wagner was a prosperous businessman who profited greatly from his mining and mercantile interest. In 1910, the house was bought by the Rambo family, who brought the house into the twentieth century with plumbing, electricity, and central heating on the first floor. After being occupied by three generations of Rambo’s, the house was purchased in August 1991 by the Cornett family. A few years later, Robert and Judy Hotchkiss of Atlanta bought the house with the intention of converting it into a bed and breakfast. The experience Robert and Judy gained from all of the Victorian houses they had renovated since 1972 served them well as they set about updating the 6,000 foot mansion. They christened the old house “Prospect Hill” in recognition of Major Wagner’s mining interests in the area. Before Robert and Judy opened up Prospect Hill as a bed and breakfast, they added modern baths to the five guest bedrooms, installed new electrical and plumbing systems, and installed central heat and air conditioning on the second and third floors. It was after the old house was completely renovated in the late 1990s that they realized that the structural changes in the building might have awakened an otherworldly presence.
Guests at the Prospect Hill Bed and Breakfast are treated to whirlpool tubs, clock radios with CD players, scented candles, and, some say, ghostly visitors. Many people have smelled freshly-baked peanut butter cookies at 3:00 a.m. They have also heard the disembodied crying of a baby and the slamming of the laundry room door. Brides who have had wedding receptions at the inn have been shocked to find orbs in their wedding pictures. Photographs taken in front of the fireplace on days when no fires were made reveal tongues of flame curling up behind the screen. One day, two glasses in the bathroom inexplicably exploded. Several years ago, a woman walked into the inn and saw a spectral Civil War soldier staring out the front window. On another occasion, a guest caught a glimpse of a shadowy figure walking around the corner.
One of the most common “spooky” sounds heard at the inn is the heavy walking of a person wearing leather-soled shoes. In the book Haunted Inns of the Southeast, Judy Hotchkiss told author Sheila Turnage that one day in the summer of 1998, not long after she and her husband had moved in, she heard footsteps walking from the hallway outside the door of her room to the back hall. A few days later, the former owners of the house admitted that they had not only heard the ghostly footsteps, but they had also seen doors open and close by themselves.
Prospect Hill Bed and Breakfast Inn certainly fulfills its promise of providing its guests with a picturesque getaway. From atop the summit of Prospect Hill, guests can look out the windows of the inn and see three states: North Carolina, Virginia, and Tennessee. The testimony of guests and staff suggests that some visitors also catch a glimpse of the “other side.”