History of Lake Toxaway Realty Company

Nick & Isabel Nichols   In 1968, John LeRoy Nichols, Jr. (fondly known as "Nick") and his family moved to Lake Toxaway so that he could work for his father-in-law, Reginald D. Heinitsh Sr. Nick and his wife Isabel, along with their little daughter, Isabel (the 4th Isabel in the family), moved into the attic of the Moltz Mansion, now known as the Greystone Inn. The Moltz Mansion boasted a pool, tennis courts, lavish gardens, stables, marina, golf pro-shop and even a secret bar in the library. Later, a hidden wine room was discovered in the catacombs beneath the Mansion.

   Nick began his career at the Lake Toxaway Company as both the general manager and vice president. The Lake Toxaway Company had been founded by his father-in-law, Reginald Heinitsh, Sr. in 1960 when "Reg" purchased 9,000 acres and developed the largest private lake in North Carolina. In the early days of Toxaway, the title of general manger meant glorified caretaker. He was a real estate broker first (becoming perhaps one of the first licensed broker in the area), a security guard, lake patrolman and country club manager. In 1969, Isabel and Nick were blessed with their second child, John Nichols III. Nick eventually left the Lake Toxaway Company and set out on his own to form the Lake Toxaway Realty Company.

   Nick and Isabel were fascinated by historic properties in the area. Their first historic property purchase was the Moltz caretaker's cottage. This property was eventually sold back to the Toxaway Company and demolished to make room for the Lake Toxaway Country Club. Next, they bought the oldest home on the lake that was built in the late 1890s. Ironically, this home also had the nickname "the caretaker's cottage." It is believed to have been built by the original Lake Toxaway Company formed in 1895 by a group of wealth investors from Pennsylvania that purchased 30,000 acres in the area to form three grand hotels and build the original lake which was completed in 1902. There is no actual record of this first home in Lake Toxaway being built. Locals have said it was used as the first office of the original Tox-away Company and to house Pennsylvania investors as they over saw the construction of the lake and Inn. Today, the house still boasts the original finishes, siding, windows and doors. At that time, the original Toxaway Company also built the Toxaway Inn. It was owned by the main investor of Toxaway, the Jennings family. The Inn was believed to be the largest residential wooden structure of its creation at the time and could accommodate 500 guests paying $17.50 and more per week. It was an impressive structure rising five stories above the lake and using more than 40 species of wood from the property for the woodwork. Within the inn were all the modern conveniences of the day: central heat, electrical engineering, private indoor plumbing, long-distance telephones, approximately 100,000 heated S.F. with 151 guest rooms and a number of elevators. Guests were served the finest cuisine by French chefs in a dining room adorned with imported crystal and dinnerware, sterling silver and fine linens. Amenities included a ballroom with a large orchestra for dancing, a billiard parlor, bowling alley, bar, gazebo for outdoor concerts, boating, swimming, fishing, golf, tennis, horseback riding and hunting. The lavish style of the Inn attracted the rich and famous from its opening in 1903. Frequent guests included Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone, the Van-derbilt family, John D. Rockefeller, John Muir, James Buchanan Duke, R. J. Reynolds and Thomas Edison.Moltz Caretakers Cottage

   On August 13, 1916 severe flooding bombarded the Toxaway River with 24 inches of rain in 24 hours. The dam, which had not been engineered with a water level control, gave way under the stress and sent more than 5 billion US gallons (19,000,000 m3) of water crashing over the falls into South Carolina. The only casualty of this disaster was the death of a mule. Toxaway Falls still shows the trauma of the dam burst, its granite rock is exposed for a great distance down the falls.

   The Toxaway Inn itself survived the flood, but the loss of the Lake was its demise. The Inn stood empty for over 33 years with the beds made and dining tables set waiting for guests to return. This was not to be the case and the inn was demolished in 1947. Tolvin Miller was a local contractor that worked on building the Toxaway Inn. He and his family became close to the Jennings family after the Dam broke.Toxaway Point Caretakers Cottage/Nichols Home The Jen-nings asked Tolvin to become the Caretaker of Lake Toxaway while they tried to work out over 70 lawsuits that were a result of water damage from the dam breaking. Tolvin lived in the vacant Inn while his children and grand children lived in the Caretakers cottage (now the Nichols Home) . Tolvin was given a "life estate" to stay in the home until he passed away in the early 1970's.In the early 1980s, Nick and Isabel moved to a temporary office at Toxaway Point. Nick formed a construction company, hiring a John Holbrook who was a residential contractor at the time. Over the years, Nick realized that John was one of the best contractors he had worked with and created a partnership company with him, called Holbrook Nick and Isabel decided to send their two children to boarding school to help broaden their horizons beyond the Tox-away area. After college, both Isabel Nichols and John Nichols III were encouraged to make their own way in the business world. They were not allowed to move home to Toxaway and work for the family business so they both moved to Char-lotte, North Carolina to become real estate brokers. Isabel joined Dickens Mitchener, while John Nichols III started in real estate with MECA Properties, a company well known for its adaptive reuse of historical properties. John Nichols III, inspired by his father, formed his own real estate company 'The Nichols Company' in 1999. John Nichols III has been awarded the number one commercial land agent in the Charlotte metro area, with 'The Nichols Company' being awarded as one of the best places to work and the most successful non-franchise commercial brokerage firm in Charlotte. Isabel has been consistently one of the top-producing agents in Charlotte and was recognized as one of the top 20 agents in North Carolina. John jokes that he has been selling property at Toxaway his entire life -- His father would drop the children of clients at the house, John and Isabel would take the kids swimming, hiking, fishing and boating. If the children had fun they would help talk the parents into buying property. It was a great way to meet and create life long relationships. In addition to real estate, you may see John around Toxaway following his other passions: photography, fishing and flying drones. He recently put together a documentary to showcase the interesting and charming history of Lake Toxaway. John has also been moonlighting as the Carolina Panthers Sports Photographer for the Transylvania Times. Spending so much time in the Toxaway area has led John to partner with Ross Hyett and acquire the Lake Toxaway Realty Company from his father.

Rendering of Toxaway Inn

16716 Rosman Highway
Lake Toxaway, NC  28747

Local 828-966-4029
Fax 828-884-9700


Ross Hyett - Broker-in-Charge
mobile : 828-553-0411

Matt Ramsby - Broker, Rental Coordinator
mobile : 803-608-4291

John Nichols III - Qualifying Broker
mobile : 704-578-4115