"When we decided to put our many years in the hospitality industry to work for us by opening a bed and breakfast, our search ended immediately when we found the Clyde Ray Sr. house and Waynesville. This beautiful historic home instantly welcomes all, and we look forward to offering you a comfortable elegant stay. We know you'll fall in love with Oak Hill as we have."
Oak Hill on Love Lane, formally Ten Oaks Bed and Breakfast, occupies the Clyde H. Ray Sr. house listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Clyde Ray Sr. was a prominent Waynesville merchant and banker, and fourteen year Mayor of Waynesville. He purchased approximately 5 acres on Love Lane in 1897. This marked the beginning of the legacy of the Clyde H. Ray Sr. Waynesville homestead. In 1898, he began construction of this beautiful home with a southern exposure, taking full advantage of the beautiful view of Waynesville. At that time, the finest hardwood lumber was available here in the Great Smoky Mountains. Much of it was virgin timber and Mr. Ray bought only the best grade available. The home took two years to build, and was finally completed in 1900. Only the finest of everything went into this stately home. Mr. and Mrs. Ray had thirteen children who all grew up in this home, making 224 Love Lane the Ray Family Estate. Many of their descendants still reside in Waynesville today.
Stone steps, which are still in their original location, led guests from the drive to the immaculate oak front door. The original cement sidewalks, beckoning guests to enjoy the grand porch, still remain. A brick springhouse was constructed about 20 feet from the house that is still standing. The springhouse served as a "refrigerator", keeping cool all the family's perishable goods.
The estate has been a showpiece since completion in 1900 and has been kept in pristine condition. The home remained in the Ray family until 1979, which explains it's adherence to the original design; original weighted windows and doors, intricate doorknobs and hinges. The sliders that operate the beautiful period transom windows are still functional. The original hardwood floors are in pristine condition, as are the three grand staircases and banisters. The original picture and dental moldings and window and doorframe moldings remain. In one of the bathrooms, even the claw foot tub and pedestal sink still exist! The old coal burning heat system and steam registers, although non-functional, still reside in the same locations. The 8 fireplaces and mantles that helped to heat the house in the early years are utilized today, but have been retrofitted with more efficient propane logs.
The home was purchased in December 2007 by Shell and Deb Isenberg, who have taken great pride in converting it back to a bed and breakfast. We wish to give tremendous credit to Jack and Eleanor Suddath, who performed the original restoration in 1973 and opened the house as Ten Oaks Bed and Breakfast. Without their efforts, there is no question that this lovely home would not be in its current condition and therefore would not have offered us this opportunity.