The Tall Pines Inn has operated continuously since 1947 under various names, including the Tall Pines Modern Court, Tall Pines Court, and the Tall Pines Motor Inn. After World War II, nostalgia for a simpler time and a desire to return to nature led American travelers out of cities to drive along ever-improving roads into the countryside and small towns. Eureka Springs was among the places benefiting from, and encouraging, this movement, a dynamic that continues into the twenty-first century.
The log cabin is an easily recognized symbol of times past, and, as a motel form, it also implies a fair price for a night’s stay. By naming the Tall Pines after trees, the original owners effectively combined the nostalgic image of a log cabin with that of a cool, shaded place in the forest (in the days before air-conditioning was common). Understandably, all of the subsequent owners have kept the Tall Pines name.
Philip and Alice Nordquist – along with their daughter, Edna Deiley, and granddaughter Donna Ann – moved from Chicago, Illinois, and built the Tall Pines in 1947. Philip was seventy years old at the time, Alice was fifty-eight, and Edna was thirty-nine. They built six rental cabins in a quarter-circle facing the owners’ residence across green space. The cabins and home were constructed of round pine logs with saddle-notched corners, chinked with concrete and built on concrete foundations. Outside lights of glass behind metal cut-out evergreens were hung on each building and are still in use today.
The owners residence was a traditional house type found in the Ozarks: a dogtrot house, also known as a hallway or double house, consisting of two separate cabins that are joined by a gable roof stretched over an open, central, floored hall between them; the separate rooms are entered from a central hallway which acts as a breezeway (important given the absence of air conditioning). Alice and Philip lived in one side, and Edna and Donna Ann lived in the other. The breezeway was enclosed in the 1950s, and this structure now operates as three rental units.
Later owners added porches to the original structures and built additional rental units, all in a style in concert with the original log construction. The Tall Pines has grown to fourteen structures housing a total of twenty-one rental units.
In January of 1999, the seven original log structures were added to the National Register of Historic Places. Robert and Carmen Caldwell became the inn’s ninth owners in 2004. They strive every day to preserve the Tall Pines’ historic nature while providing the comfort and convenience expected by today’s travelers.
(Much of this narrative is quoted directly from an entry in The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture written by Jill Curran.)