To purchase a print of this drawing by author/artist
Lee Pantas, visit
Cherry Orchard Studio
Grove Park Inn was the dream of Edwin Wiley Grove and his son-in-law, Fred Loring Seely, who envisioned the building of a resort hotel in the beautiful and
restful mountains of the Southern Appalachians. Mr. Grove, who was the owner of
a pharmaceutical company in St. Louis, Missouri, had come to Asheville for
health reasons and liked the area so much he bought land here, including acreage
on the western slope of Sunset Mountain. It was on this land that he eventually
built a unique resort, the Grove Park Inn, patterned after the Old Faithful Inn
in Yellowstone National Park, but built of native stone instead of logs.
Over the years, this grand hotel has had many distinguished guests. President
Franklin D. Roosevelt and his wife, Eleanor, President Woodrow Wilson, F. Scott
Fitzgerald, William Jennings Bryan and Will Rogers all journeyed to E.W. Grove’s
luxurious mountainside inn. The attraction of the inn was compelling and guests
came in great numbers from all over the world. Other noteworthy visitors were
John D. Rockefeller, General Pershing, Chief Justice Taft and Thomas Edison.
The hotel was designed by Mr. Seely and was constructed of granite boulders
which were brought
from nearby Sunset Mountain or from land owned by Mr. Grove.
Hundreds of North Carolina laborers helped in the construction was well as
Italian stone masons. Each rock was used only if it fit perfectly where it was
needed, and the great fireplaces, which are thirty-six feet wide required one
hundred and twenty tons of boulders to build. The hotel was completed in just
over a year and was opened on July 1, 1913.
Originally a guard house protected the main entrance to the hotel grounds. The
roads leading up the hill along Macon Avenue were also originally paved in
smooth brick and converged on a circular parking area in front of the east
porch, now the main entrance. Seven hundred pieces of furniture and over six
hundred lighting fixtures were handmade by Roycrofters of East Aurora, New York,
and the bedroom furniture was made by the White Furniture Company of Mebane,
North Carolina. The rugs were woven in Aubusson, France, and lasted until 1955,
when Charles and Elaine Sammons of Dallas came to the resort and refurnished the
entire property. In the early years, entertainment at the hotel included
bowling, swimming and billiards, and in the Great Hall there were concerts,
organ recitals and movies, after which each guest received an apple wrapped in
gray paper for depositing the core. Another hotel practice which amazed visitors
was the presenting of change at the cashier’s window in washed and polished
silver and crisp new paper money.
The rocking chairs on the porches and terraces were very popular as guests would
sit for hours enjoying the mountain views and refreshing air. Walking paths on
the grounds were also provided for the guests.
During the years of the Second World War, the U.S. State Department leased the
property for an internment center for Axis diplomats. Later, the Navy Department
took over the hotel as a rest and rehabilitation center for soldiers returning
from the war, and the Philippine Government in exile functioned from the
Presidential Cottage on the hotel grounds. For a decade after the war, the hotel
was operated as such by the owner, Ike Hall.
The complete restoration and modernization, begun in 1955, included private
baths in every room, electric and water lines replaced, American fabrics and
rugs installed and furniture cleaned, restored and reupholstered. A beautiful
swimming pool was added, tennis courts were resurfaced and a putting green
constructed. In later years, wings were added to the original stone hotel body
to provide needed guest accommodations.
In 1917, the Biltmore Industries, a cottage craft industry started by Mrs.
George Vanderbilt, was sold to Mr. Seely who installed it in the Old English
type shops at the edge of the Grove Park Inn grounds. Visitors to the Grove Park
Inn could watch the spinning and carding of wool and the looming of cloth. These
cottages still operate in much the same spirit and are home to the Grovewood
Gallery, the Estes-Winn Memorial Automobile Museum and the North Carolina
In the early 1980s the famous resort hotel was converted from a seasonal
enterprise into a year-round resort and convention center. Refurbishing of all
the guest rooms, public areas, dining rooms and meeting rooms was undertaken,
and the electric and plumbing system fully modernized. New wings included
complete meeting and conference facilities.
Inn, owned and operated by Omni Resort & Hotels, is the epitome of a world-class resort.
This grand lady has it all—superb facilities, a rich history, overwhelmingly
beautiful mountain setting, a Four Diamond Restaurant, and championship golf
course. The hotel has over 40 meeting rooms offering 50,000 square feet of
space, complete in-house support services, 510 guest rooms, including 12 suites.
Deluxe accommodations are also provided on the Club Floor, a concierge-attended
floor which features oversized guest rooms with jacuzzis, newspaper delivery and
a private Club Lounge. There are six outdoor tennis courts and three indoor
plexipave courts, as well as racquetball, squash, Nautilus and aerobics
Recent renovations and additions to the resort include an updated Sports Center
with indoor pool, the restoration of the historic main Inn’s roof, new outdoor
tennis courts and an extraordinary 43,000 sq. ft. spa complex that is one of the
finest in the world
Grove Park Inn Review by writer Liza Schillo will
give you an insider’s view of just how wonderful the Spa at the Grove Park Inn
Resort really is
. These improvements tally over $24
million and further secure the Grove Park Inn Resort and Spa’s position as one
of the world’s great hotels.
Address: 290 Macon Ave., Asheville, NC 28804
Telephone: 800-438-5800, 828-252-2711
Of Note: Listed in the National Register of
Nearby: Thomas Wolfe
Memorial, Biltmore Estate
Directions: From I-40 or I-26, take I-240 into
Asheville. Take exit 5B, Charlotte Street. Proceed north on
Charlotte Street for ˝ miles, then turn right on Macon
Avenue. After ˝ mile, take Grove Park Inn entrance on left.