The History of RT Lodge begins in 1932 with the arrival of Susan Wiley Walker to Maryville from her native Pennsylvania. Mrs. Walker relocated to Tennessee to be near her sister, who was married to the Maryville College Chaplain. After seeing her sister’s home located in the woods adjacent to the college, Mrs. Walker decided she wanted her own residence in set amongst the trees as well.
She persuaded the administration to allow her to build on the property, as long as she willed the home to the college upon her death. She named her 26-room home Morningside.
Mrs. Walker found the quiet surrounds of her new home the perfect location for her naturalist lifestyle, and the residence and gardens stand today as a testament to her love for natural beauty and gracious hospitality.
Life at Morningside agreed favorably with Mrs. Walker who lived late into her 98th year. Upon her passing the house was donated to Maryville College and for years served as the residence for the college president. In later years, the property was leased and operated as a restaurant and special event destination named Morningside Inn.
In 1997, Ruby Tuesday, Inc. acquired Morningside and developed the property as a corporate retreat, restoring the grounds and residence to its present grandeur and adding two additional buildings for guest accommodations. Today, RT Lodge is still surrounded by the natural setting where Mrs. Walker made her home. The 100 acres of Maryville College woods offers guests at the lodge a secluded and pastoral experience with walking trails, streams and meadows just steps from the front door.