“After moving to Asheville in 1898, [patent medicine magnate E. W. Grove] decided that, if the city were ever to fulfill its potential as a pleasure resort, it would have to to shed its image as a health retreat….
“First, Grove quietly purchased a number of Asheville’s tuberculosis sanitariums and rooming houses that catered to invalids and tore them down. In his many real estate speculations he attached covenants to lots that he sold preventing construction of any structures for tuberculosis patients…..
“In 1913 he opened the Grove Park Inn, touted as ‘the finest resort hotel in the world…. not a sanitarium, a hospital or a health resort. It is a resting place for tired people who are not sick.’
“To ensure that guests were not at risk of encountering any pestilence, the hotel used only new dollar bills, washed all coins and boiled all silverware twice….”
— From “Tourism in the Mountain South: A Double-edged Sword” by C. Brenden Martin (2007)
“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)]
Happy 100th to the House that Grove’s Tasteless Chill Tonic Built.
A cornucopia of anecdotes in the Citizen-Times (hat tip, John L. Robinson) points out that the Grove Park Inn prevented Asheville from becoming tuberculosis sanitarium to the nation, gave refuge to Warren G. Harding during the Teapot Dome Scandal and even served as a POW camp (!) during World War II.
Though the most celebrated, the Grove Park Inn wasn’t the final project of quinine magnate E. W. Grove. In Swannanoa he created Grovement, a planned community ‘where people of moderate means can secure large lots at reasonable prices.’ ”
According to this oral history, Grove envisioned “a neighborhood as close to his grandparents’ town in England as he could recreate.”
In “Asheville: A History” (2007) Nan K. Chase refers to Grovemont as “unsuccessful,” apparently another victim of the city’s extreme vulnerability to the Crash of ’29.
Pictured: a celluloid advertising mirror from the collection. I wonder if this stone house still stands — sure looks built to last, doesn’t it?