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Laurel Cottage

About Laurel Cottage Hospitality House

Located on the FHU campus adjacent to the Anderson Science Center, the five-bedroom, five-bath Laurel Cottage Hospitality House provides you with a warm, welcoming home away from home. FHU renovated this Main Street property for the exclusive purpose of hosting you and other campus guests. Each room is furnished with your comfort in mind, and you’ll find specific details about each room by visiting the links on this page. This facility was established to reflect the love of Christ, along with sincere gratitude for your visit to campus.

All rooms are named in honor or memory of former first ladies of Freed-Hardeman. The cottage itself is named for Mrs. Laurel Sewell, also a first lady.

Our Mission

At Laurel Cottage, our mission is to provide a warm and inviting haven for families of prospective students, university guests, as well as family members of faculty, staff, and alumni of Freed-Hardeman University. Rooted in a commitment to exceptional hospitality, we strive to create an atmosphere where comfort, care, and Christian values converge.

View Room Details


The Mrs. Joe Hardeman Room has an ADA-compliant en suite bathroom and features one queen bed, desk, comfy leather chair with an ottoman, a window seat, cedar-lined closet, smart TV and WiFi.


The Mrs. Cora Belle Freed Room is warm and inviting, with an en suite bathroom, queen bed, desk, recliner, smart TV and WiFi.


The Mrs. Delores Gardner Room includes an en suite bathroom, queen bed, spacious closet, desk, small loveseat, smart TV and WiFi. The cream and light blue palette, along with a large picture window, provide this room with a calm and airy atmosphere.


The Mrs. Glenda Wiley Room is at the top of the stairs and has the feel of a lakeside cabin. This room has an en suite bathroom, queen bed, table with three chairs, large window with a view of campus, small closet, smart TV and WiFi.


The Mrs. Louise Dixon Suite has even more space for your enjoyment. This charming upstairs suite, full of natural light, includes an en suite bathroom, main bedroom with a queen bed, sitting area, desk, smart TV and WiFi. With two built-in daybeds and an extra-large window seat, the adjoining room provides room for additional guests and is the perfect place for catching a nap, reading or daydreaming about your collegiate future (or past) here at FHU.

Frequently Asked Questions about Laurel Cottage

Can i bring my animal to laurel cottage?

At Laurel Cottage on Freed-Hardeman University’s campus, we strive to provide a comfortable and enjoyable experience for all our guests. To ensure the comfort, safety, and cleanliness of our accommodations, we have implemented a strict no pet policy. Please review the following guidelines:

  1. No Pets Allowed:
    • With the exception of authorized service animals as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), no pets are permitted within Laurel Cottage.
    • This policy applies to all types of pets, including but not limited to dogs, cats, birds, reptiles, and small mammals.
  2. Service Animals:
    • Guests with disabilities who require the assistance of a service animal are welcome to bring their authorized service animals into Laurel Cottage.
    • Proper documentation may be requested to verify that the animal is a trained service animal.
  3. Violations and Penalties:
    • Any violation of the no pet policy will result in a breach of the rental agreement, and guests may be asked to vacate the premises without refund.
    • Additionally, guests will be held responsible for any damages or additional cleaning required due to unauthorized pets.
  4. Local Pet Accommodations:
    • For guests who require accommodations for their pets, we can provide information about nearby pet-friendly establishments or local boarding facilities.

We appreciate your understanding and cooperation regarding our no pet policy. This policy is in place to maintain a clean and allergen-free environment, as well as to respect the needs and preferences of other guests. If you have any questions or need assistance in finding suitable accommodations for your pet, please feel free to contact our reservation desk. We are committed to ensuring your stay at Laurel Cottage is enjoyable and comfortable within the established guidelines.

Is smoking allowed at laurel cottage?

To provide a clean and healthy environment for all guests, Laurel Cottage on Freed-Hardeman University’s campus maintains a strict no smoking policy. We kindly request your cooperation in adhering to the following guidelines:

  1. No Smoking:
    • Smoking, including the use of cigarettes, cigars, pipes, electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), or any other smoking devices, is strictly prohibited within Laurel Cottage premises. This policy applies to all indoor areas, including guest rooms, common areas, and hallways.
  2. Violations and Penalties:
    • Any violation of the no smoking policy will result in a breach of the rental agreement. Guests found smoking inside Laurel Cottage will be subject to a penalty fee and may be asked to leave the premises immediately without refund.
    • Additionally, guests will be held responsible for any damages or additional cleaning required due to smoking-related activities.
  3. Local Smoking Regulations:
    • Guests are responsible for familiarizing themselves with and adhering to any local or state smoking regulations and restrictions applicable to public spaces or outdoor areas surrounding Laurel Cottage.

We appreciate your cooperation in maintaining a smoke-free environment at Laurel Cottage. Your compliance with this policy contributes to the well-being and comfort of all our guests. If you have any questions or require further information, please do not hesitate to contact our reservation desk. We are here to assist you and ensure your stay is pleasant and enjoyable in accordance with our policies.

What Amenities do you offer?

As you embark on your preparations for a stay at Laurel Cottage, rest assured that your room is equipped with an array of amenities to ensure your comfort and convenience. Here’s what you can expect:

  1. Bedroom Features:

    • Your private and secure room with an en’ suite bathroom, will be furnished with all the essentials, including towels, bed linens, an iron and ironing board, a hairdryer, and travel-sized toiletries. We’ve taken care of every detail to make your stay as hassle-free as possible.
  2. Kitchenette Features:

    • The cottage features a well-stocked kitchenette for your enjoyment. We offer complimentary bottled water and seek to satisfy your coffee cravings with our convenient Keurig coffee maker, offering a selection of premium coffee options. Additionally, we provide individually packaged snacks and breakfast foods, ensuring you have a delightful start to your day.
    • Besides a Keurig machine, the kitchenette also has a full size refrigerator along with a microwave.
  3. Streaming Entertainment:

    • At Laurel Cottage, we embrace the modern era of entertainment. Instead of traditional cable TV, each room is equipped with Roku televisions. These televisions pick up a few local channels and offer access to select Wi-Fi channels. To enjoy a wider variety of viewing options, simply bring your streaming and/or cable provider login information and log in to popular Roku apps such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and more.

If you have any questions or need further assistance, our attentive staff is here to help.

What is your payment policy?

 To ensure a seamless booking process and confirm your reservation, please review our payment policy:

  1. Reservation Confirmation:
    • A reservation at Laurel Cottage is considered confirmed upon receipt of the required payment. Until payment is received, the reservation is considered tentative and subject to availability.
  2. Payment Methods:
    • We accept payment for reservations via credit card, debit card, or other authorized forms of electronic payment. Details regarding acceptable payment methods will be provided during the booking process.
  3. Deposit:
    • In order to secure your reservation, a deposit may be required. The deposit amount and specific terms will be communicated to you at the time of booking. Please note that failure to submit the required deposit within the specified timeframe may result in the cancellation of your reservation.
  4. Full Payment:
    • The remaining balance for your reservation must be paid in full prior to your scheduled check-in date. Failure to complete the payment may result in the cancellation of your reservation, and the cottage may be made available to other guests.
  5. Late Payments:
    • If payment is not received by the designated due date, we reserve the right to cancel the reservation without prior notice. It is important to ensure timely payment to secure your reservation and avoid any inconvenience.
  6. Cancellation and Refunds:
    • Our cancellation policy (previously provided) will outline any applicable fees or refund eligibility in the event of cancellation. Please review the cancellation policy carefully to understand your rights and any potential financial implications.
  7. Payment Receipts:
    • Upon request, we can provide a receipt for the payment made towards your reservation. Please reach out to our guest services coordinator if you require a payment receipt.

If you have any questions or require further clarification, our guest services coordinator is ready to assist you. We look forward to welcoming you to Laurel Cottage!

What are your Booking and Cancellation Policies?

Booking Policy

We appreciate your interest in staying at Laurel Cottage on Freed-Hardeman University’s campus. To ensure fair access and availability for all guests, we have implemented the following booking policy:

  1. Advance Booking Limit:

    • For the general public, guests may make reservations for Laurel Cottage up to 180 days in advance of their desired check-in date.
  2. Reservation Procedures:

    • Reservations can be made through our online booking system.
    • When making a reservation, guests will be required to provide their contact information, desired check-in and check-out dates, and any additional details requested during the booking process.
  3. Modifications and Extensions:

    • If guests wish to modify their reservation or extend their stay beyond the original booking period, they may do so, subject to availability.
    • Changes to the reservation should be requested via email at laurelcottage@fhu.edu or phone at 731-989-6603.
  4. Cancellation and Refunds:

    • Our standard cancellation policy applies to all bookings made within the 180-day advance booking limit.
    • Guests must adhere to the cancellation policy to receive a refund or avoid any applicable cancellation fees.

We kindly ask guests to respect the 180-day advance booking limit for Laurel Cottage to ensure equitable access for all interested individuals. If you have any questions or need further assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact our Guest Services Coordinator. We look forward to welcoming you to Laurel Cottage and providing you with a pleasant and comfortable stay.

Cancellation Policy

  1. Cancellation Timeframe:

    • Individual Bookings: Guests must cancel their reservation at least 24 hours prior to the scheduled check-in time to receive a full refund of the booking fee.
    • Group Bookings: For group reservations (5 or more rooms), cancellation must be made at least 7 days prior to the scheduled check-in time to receive a full refund of the booking fee.
  2. Cancellation Fee

    • The fee for a cancellation not made within the 24 hours of an individual booking or 7 days of a group booking is the price of a one night stay per the amount of rooms that were reserved. 
  3. Cancellation Procedures:

    • To cancel a booking, please contact our Guest Services Coordinator at least 24 hours before your scheduled check-in time. You can reach us by phone at 731-989-6603 or via email at laurelcottage@fhu.edu.
  4. No-Show Policy:

    • In the event of a no-show (failure to arrive without prior cancellation), the full amount of the booking fee will be charged to the credit card or payment method provided at the time of booking.
  5. Refunds and Fee Adjustments:

    • Refunds will be processed within 14 business days from the date of cancellation, and the amount refunded will be equivalent to the booking fee minus any applicable cancellation fees.
    • If a booking is modified (e.g., changing the dates or size of room) within the allowable cancellation timeframe, any difference in the booking fee will be adjusted accordingly.
  6. Special Circumstances:

    • In case of unforeseen circumstances, such as extreme weather conditions or emergency situations, Freed-Hardeman University reserves the right to modify or waive the cancellation policy on a case-by-case basis.

We highly recommend reviewing and understanding our cancellation policy before making a reservation at Laurel Cottage. By making a booking, you acknowledge and agree to abide by the terms and conditions outlined in this cancellation policy.

If you have any further questions or require clarification, please do not hesitate to contact our guest services coordinator. We are here to assist you and ensure your stay at Laurel Cottage is as enjoyable as possible.


What is the history of Laurel Cottage?

The origin of Laurel Cottage hearkens back to a tract of land owned by Maggie and Eulis Ellis. It is unknown what year this tract of land was deeded to L. D. and Avarilla Stanfill.

In January 1937, L. D. and Avarilla Stanfill sold the land to A.M. and Nancy Johnson for $600.

The Johnsons built a rock house on the land in 1937-38, and sold the land in September 1938, ‘’with all its estate, title, interest and appurtenances thereto belonging,” to C.A. and Imogene Maness for $2,400.

The Maness’ son, Gene Allen Maness, inherited the house from his mother Imogene Maness Travis in November 2002.

Gene Maness’ widow, Bettye L. Maness sold the house to Freed-Hardeman University in 2013.

Led by the vision of FHU First Lady Tracie Shannon (our current First Lady who has been serving since 2017), who was passionate about creating a space where all can feel welcome and cared for on campus. The house was renovated to serve as a guest house for the University. Mrs. Tracie Shannon skillfully designed and decorated each space and it officially opened for use in October of 2022.

Laurel Cottage was named in honor of first lady Mrs. Laurel Sewell, who served as First Lady from 1990 to 2008. She is the author of The Six Gifts of Hospitality and has contributed articles to several Christian publications. Mrs. Laurel Sewell has traveled as a Christian education speaker, speaking at Ladies’ Days on many topics including hospitality.

The five bedrooms, the cottage, and the gathering room, were named for First Ladies of the University:

Room 1 – Mrs. A. G. (Cora Belle) Freed – Served From 1908-1923

Dining Area – Mrs. W. Claude (Lelia) Hall – Dining Area – Served From 1923 – 1925

Room 2 – Mrs. N. B. (Joanna) Hardeman – Served From 1925 – 1940

Room 5 – Mrs. H. A. (Louise) Dixon – Served From 1950 – 1969

Room 3 – Mrs. Claude (Delorese) Gardner – Served From 1969 – 1990

Room 4 – Mrs. Joe (Glenda) Wiley – Served From 2008 – 2017