Sometime during the first decades of the 20th century, this rubble style building was constructed overlooking the Shenandoah River just south of what of “Narrow Passage.”
The early history of this site is not well known. Some accounts indicate that a general store had operated here in the 1870s. This would have been a part of the Willow Grove community which once featured several stores, a train station, and two hotels. Today almost the entire community has disappeared.
When the current structure was built, the owners of the property must have seen a need for a new rest stop and nightlife attraction along Route 11. So they built this structure, complete with hotel rooms, restaurant, bar, and dance floor. The attraction that opened was named Dorothy’s Inn. Over the years it developed a reputation for its food, the alcohol served inside, and as a place where local men could find a “good broad.”
When traffic patterns relocated after Interstate 81 opened in the 1960s the decline in business lead to the closing of the inn. However, the Narrow Passage Inn opened in the building and operated through the 1980s. It was reported to have the largest bar in Shenandoah County, an indication the building continued to be a social center.
Since the inn closed the building has sat mostly vacant, despite several attempts to locate businesses, restaurants, and hotels in the structure.