The Grove Park Inn is easily recognized as a world-class hotel, but in its tucked-away location in the hills of Asheville, N.C., you’d wouldn’t suspect that it has been host to luminaries from the silver screen, the printed page and even politics.
Starting with the official opening of the hotel in 1913, The Grove Park Inn has had its share of celebrities. The opening banquet’s keynote speaker was none other than William Jennings Bryan, three-time candidate for the White House and Secretary of State under Woodrow Wilson.
Although their names are not as familiar as they were to earlier generations, the list of celebrities, entertainers and businessmen who came to The Grove Park Inn for several days of rest and relaxation included F. Scott Fitzgerald, Harry Houdini, Al Jolson, Enrico Caruso and Will Rodgers, as well as General John J. Pershing, Eleanor Roosevelt and Presidents Herbert Hoover, Woodrow Wilson, William Howard Taft, Calvin Coolidge, Franklin Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower.
In more recent decades Presidents Richard Nixon, George H. W. Bush, and Bill Clinton have all spent time at the historic hotel. Now the name Barack Obama can be added to the list , though this wasn’t our current president’s first visit. He also stayed at the Grove Park during the final months (September, 2008) of the presidential campaign.
And while famous guests are an engaging part of the hotel’s history, woodworkers will also find interest in the one-of-a-kind collection of original Arts & Crafts furniture pieces used daily throughout the hotel. For a deeper look at the furniture, visit our Flickr page for a look inside, or pick up your own copy of “The Grove Park Inn, Arts & Crafts Furniture.” Or enjoy Bruce E. Johnson’s book on the history of the hotel, “Built for The Ages.”
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