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What is the Grove Park Inn?

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  • Last Modified Date: 29 August 2016
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Located in the United States (U.S.) in Asheville, North Carolina, the Grove Park Inn is a famous hotel resort and spa that serves as a luxurious getaway and a treasured U.S. historical landmark. The inn was built in 1913, under the funding and supervision of millionaire Edwin Wiley (E.W.) Grove, who made a fortune off of his own syrupy beverage named Grove's Tasteless Chill Tonic. In 1973, the hotel was added to the National Register of Historic Places, which, along with the profits it makes off of tourism and guests, secured the historic site's survival.

Before building the Grove Park Inn, E.W. Groves built a fortune off the sales of his creation, Grove's Tasteless Chill Tonic. The syrupy tonic contained quinine, an ingredient used in tonic today, which was then used extensively as a treatment for malaria and feverish symptoms. Grove indeed marketed his beverage for treating and warding off sickness, and it was widely used for that purpose. Grove's tonic was so popular that it rivaled sales of Coca-Cola and other popular soft drinks of the time.

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In 1913, E.W. Grove chose the Blue Ridge Mountains as the site for the hotel that he envisioned building. He settled specifically on Sunset Mountain. Once the design and land was decided, Grove wasted no time in building his resort: it took only 12 months for Grove's 400-man crew to complete building. That included the amount of time it took to mine granite boulders out of the mountainside and haul them up to the building site. Groves was able to expedite building by paying his workers lavish wages.

One of the more historic and notable features of the structure is The Great Hall, a cavernous room spanning 120 feet across, with vaulted ceilings rising to 24 feet off the ground. Two gigantic stone fireplaces, each measuring 14 feet, add to the aesthetic appeal. Besides providing warmth, these chimneys serve a unique purpose: hidden within each chimney are elevators that still operate today, taking guests from the lobby to the level where their room is located.

The inn was hailed as a triumph upon its opening, proclaimed by popular speaker and presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan as having been "built for the ages." Throughout the years, it has hosted many famous guests and dignitaries, including American writer F. Scott Fitzgerald, who lived in room 441 for two summers during 1935-1936. Multiple U.S. presidents have stayed on the premises, ranging from the 27th president, William Howard Taft, to the 44th president, Barack Obama. Other famous faces that have graced Grove Park Inn's halls include Will Rogers, Harry Houdini and Eleanor Roosevelt.

The Grove Park Inn also has lore for being a hotel with ghostly guests. One ghost in particular, dubbed the pink lady, has become a part of the Grove Park Inn legend. As the story goes, a lady, sometime in the 1920s, was staying at the hotel, and by some mishap fell over one of the inn's walls and plummeted to her death. Since that time, numerous sightings of the lady dressed in pink from staff and guests have only added to the legend.

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