Old Bell Tavern; Medford Restaurant

R.R. Gaddis, builder


Canton, Haywood County
Street Address:

111 Park St.


No longer standing



Images Published In:

Camille Wells, The Architecture of Our Home Town (1985)


Gaddis built the picturesque structure with a river rock foundation and walls made of logs acquired by dismantling several log structures in the county. It was commissioned by for Charles Smith, president of the Champion Employees’ Store, for his son Earl, who became the proprietor. The Old Bell Tavern was a favorite regional establishment for many years. The Asheville Citizen-Times of December 17, 1937 announced the opening of “Western North Carolina’s Most Unique and Modernistic Tavern” in Canton, which combined “antique and modernistic” styles; the article described the building in detail, including the bar (18 feet long in cherry wood), the “modernistically finished electric Wurlitzer” providing music from “new weekly records” for entertainment and dancing. The newspaper noted that that proprietor Earl E. Smith had taken logs “from the place of his great grandfather which are considered well over 130 years old.” The facility was also “completely air conditioned” and provided parking for one hundred automobiles for those who came for miles to dine and dance. It was known throughout the region for its “high class” service and amenities and its excellent Southern food. In 2004 the old tavern was damaged by a flood. It was subsequently torn down.