Why the Grove Park Inn isn’t on top of Sunset Mountain

“Asheville was slow to take up the great game of golf. The Asheville Country Club at the foot of Sunset Mountain [had] a nine-hole golf course, but the standard course had become 18 holes. The Southern Railway, in bringing people to Asheville, found resistance on account of the lack of a good golf course….

“S.H. Hardwick of the Southern Railway came to Asheville under auspices of the Chamber of Commerce and in an open meeting put the matter up to the citizens. As a result, a complete change occurred. Instead of one being regarded as a freak if he played golf, or wore knickers or subscribed to stock in the Asheville Country Club, he became a patriot. It was a popular thing to do. If that was what Asheville needed to keep its spring business, it helped greatly until the summer crowds started toward the mountains. The Asheville club expanded to the full 18 holes.

“One afternoon I accompanied E.W. Grove, to the top of Sunset Mountain to a point on the eastern end of the ridge. Mr. Grove designated this  spot for his new hotel [the Grove Park Inn, which would open July 1, 1913]…. Later I learned his St. Louis bankers vetoed the site because they feared that the hotel would not succeed unless it was at the foot of the mountain facing the new golf course and had a patronage spread uniformly over the year….”

— From “Jeffress, Former Newspaperman Here, Describes Asheville of 1908-1911” by Edwin Bedford Jeffress in the Asheville Citizen (March 26, 1950) [excerpted in “Golf takes full swing in Asheville” by Thomas Calder in the Mountain Xpress (Nov. 8)]

 

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