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Watchman's House

Cabin or Cottage
The Historic Watchman's House, circa 1891, has been restored and is available for rentals. – Ingrid Buehler

Visitors to the Reliance Historic District and scenic Hiwassee River Valley can stay in the historic Watchman's House, built in 1891 on the north side of the river adjacent to the tracks for the new L&N Rail line. The frame cottage was built for use of the railroad watchman, whose job was to watch for signs of fire on the nearby wooden railroad bridge after the coal-fired engines passed over. Barrels of water were kept on the trestle so he could put out any fire that developed. The cottage, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, has been meticulously restored and furnished in keeping with its historic significance.

The Watchman's House is located in the heart of the Cherokee National Forest on the north side of the Hiwassee River. Nearby hiking trails, including the John Muir Trail, range from easy to strenuous. Webb Brothers Float Service offers rentals of rafts, tubes and funyaks for floating the river, which is also a popular trout fishing spot. Opportunities also abound for picnicking, scenic rides, photography (including spectacular wildflowers as well as scenic beauty), and bird watching. The Hiwassee River bridge has a pedestrian lane.

Driving Directions

Take TN Hwy. 30 from either U.S. Hwy. 411 or U.S. Hwy. 64 to Reliance. The Watchman's House is just across the Hiwassee River bridge.

Locally or Family Owned Business Notes

The Webb family has roots in the Reliance area dating back to 1880 and still operates the family farm and general store as well as the Watchman's House and float service. The family owns all the buildings in the Reliance Historic District.

Pet Friendly Notes

Pets are allowed.


Season Open

Seasons OpenAvailable year-roundRecreational Opportunities


Rate Range

$100/night in season; two-night minimum. Negotiable during the off-season.


Locally or Family-Owned Business


Lodging Style and Amenities

The cottage is divided into three units, each with a private bath and working fireplace. Two units have a full kitchen; the other has more beds, refrigerator, microwave and coffee maker. All have central heat and air. No televisions. The beauty of the Hiwassee valley is visible from every room, and there's history everywhere you look.

Nearby Places