E. W. Grove: You can rest here, but you can’t be sick

“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 Swordby C. Brenden Martin (2007)


Wrong about TB, right about Chimney Rock

“[Some] TB reformers offered stereotypical explanations for variations in susceptibility. A North Carolina sanatorium superintendent, Lucius Morse, writing in the Journal of the Outdoor Life [February 1919], noted that ‘primitive people’ in their natural state did not have tuberculosis and that once they were exposed to it by contact with Westerners, they often succumbed quickly. He attributed higher rates among American Indians and African Americans to their relative lack of exposure. In contrast, the Jews, ‘a people who for 2,000 years have been city dwellers,’ enjoyed a ‘well-known circumstance of racial immunity.’ ”

— From “The Gospel of Germs: Men, Women, and the Microbe in American Life” (1998) by Nancy Tomes

Fortunately Lucius Morse’s legacy transcends his speculation about TB. This from chimneyrockpark.com:

“Born in 1871 in Missouri, Dr. Morse was a practicing physician when diagnosed with tuberculosis. Advised to seek a more healthful climate, he made his way to Western North Carolina. He loved to wander, often riding horseback down to Chimney Rock. He paid a man 25 cents to take him by donkey to the top.

Surrounded by panoramic vistas, he conceived his dream here, not only of the Park but also of Lake Lure and the town of the same name.”

Pictured: Recent promotional button