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History + Highballs: Grove Park Inn

Thursday, Jun. 24, 7 p.m. via Zoom

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Presenter: Bruce E. Johnson, Author and Historian

Even with 400 men working 10-hour shifts over a six-day workweek to log timber and lug tons of granite boulders, using mules and wagons, construction of the Grove Park Inn was fortunate to be finished by opening day in July 1913. But immediately, newspapers across the United States christened it “the finest resort hotel in the world.” Indeed, it drew the rich and famous to Asheville, where they relaxed among panoramic views and took in the healthful, soothing climate of North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Among guests have been 10 US presidents; noted industrialists like Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone, Thomas Edison, and John D. Rockefeller Jr.; and personalities including F. Scott Fitzgerald, Will Rogers, David Copperfield, Gene Hackman, Daniel Day-Lewis, Jerry Seinfeld, and Jennifer Lopez. Enjoy a filmed walking tour of this historic Arts and Crafts–based property and a live Q&A session with Johnson.

Johnson, who moved to Asheville in the 1980s, wrote and directed tonight’s filmed tour and is author of Built for the Ages: A History of the Grove Park Inn (1991), Tales of the Grove Park Inn (2013), and Grove Park Inn: Arts & Crafts Furniture (2009), as well as a novel, An Unexpected Guest, based on the inn’s infamous “Pink Lady.” His love for the Grove Park Inn, along with experience as a collector of Arts and Crafts–style furniture and pottery, led him to organize the National Arts and Crafts Conference and antiques show in 1988; it just celebrated its 34th year.