Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Grove Park Inn on Sunset Mountain in Asheville

The historic Grove Park Inn on Sunset Mountain in Asheville, NC, is celebrating its 100th year anniversary.

It was during the 1880s that Edwin W. Grove, owner and founder of Grove’s Pharmacy and Paris Medicine Company of St. Louis, Missouri, began spending his summers in Asheville. A frequent sufferer of bronchitis, Grove’s doctor had advised that the mountain climate might prove soothing and beneficial. He came to love the area after spending more and more of his time in Asheville and became quite involved in the growth and development of the small city.

Grove dreamed of building a resort hotel as early as 1909, but it wasn’t until 1912 that his dream began to take shape. Workers from all over the South converged on a grassy mountain slope overlooking the city and the construction of The Grove Park Inn was under way. Hundreds of mules, wagons, pulleys and ropes were used to move the massive granite stones mined from Sunset Mountain, some weighing as much as 10,000 pounds, into place. In an engineering marvel, it only took eleven months and 29 days to complete.

Since that time, thousands of visitors have passed through the resort’s majestic lobby, drawing inspiration from the numerous quotes by authors, famous and unknown, that adorn its distinctive stone architecture.

Majestic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains from the front terrace.

With its distinctive undulating red clay tile roof and original Roycroft furnishings and fixtures, The Grove Park Inn captures the essence of the Arts and Crafts movement. Throughout its massive lobby, words of inspiration from noted authors and anonymous sources are etched in stone.

The pure mountain air, impeccable service, and unparalleled cuisine have attracted visitors by the score. At the end of the 20th century, The Grove Park Inn underwent a major renovation, adding a 40,000-square foot spa and expanding its outstanding sports complex.

The grand opening of the Grove Park Inn in 1913 featured a keynote address by well-known orator William Jennings Bryan.

Ten U.S. presidents have stayed at the hotel: Calvin Coolidge, Woodrow Wilson, William Howard Taft, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Herbert Hoover, Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama.

Exiled Philippine government leaders were housed in a guest cottage on the property during World War II.
SWAC Daughter taking a picture of me taking a picture of her.

Asheville's skyline

The Spa at the Grove Park Inn

Never tire of gazing at the layers of North Carolina mountains.

The hotel has hosted numerous celebrities over the years including William Jennings Bryan (who spoke at the hotel's opening), Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone, Elbert Hubbard, John D. Rockefeller, Gen. John J. Pershing, Dean Smith, Jerry Seinfeld, John Waters, David & Amy Sedaris, Mischa Barton, Mike Huckabee, former NC Governor Bev Perdue, Sanjay Gupta, Trey Anastasio, Charles Schwab, Enrico Caruso, Harry Houdini, Al Jolson, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Bobby Jones, Wiley Post, Will Rogers, Bill Tilden, Billy Graham, William Shatner, Don Cheadle, Vijay Kansupada, and many others.

F. Scott Fitzgerald stayed at the hotel for two years to write while his wife was in an asylum in Asheville. The rooms in which he stayed, Suites 441 to 443, are available for guests. One is furnished exactly as it was during his stay in the 1930s. Rooms in which famous people stayed are marked by plaques on the door saying who stayed there and when.

On February 3, 1930, William Howard Taft resigned from the US Supreme Court in the Great Hall Lobby.

In 1999, gospel artist Bill Gaither recorded "Mountain Homecoming" in his series of Gaither Homecoming videos and CDs in the Great Hall lobby, including artists Gloria Gaither, Mark Lowry, Larry Gatlin, the Bishops, Stephen Hill, Joy Gardner, and Ben Isaacs.

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell
Grove Park Inn
July 24, 2013

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