Green Park Inn History
What we Glean from History
The valleys, hills and mountains of North Carolina's High Country have forever been inhabited by the Cherokee and Catawaba Native American Tribes. Legend tells us that two Native American lovers - one from each tribe - were walking near the rocks when the man received a notice to report to his village to go into battle. When his lover urged him to stay with her, he became so distraught that he threw himself off the blowing rock into the gorge. The woman prayed to the Great Spirit to return her lover, and the Spirit complied by sending a gust of wind which blew the man back up the cliff and landed him safely on the blowing rock itself. Thus, the Blowing Rock, which to this day is invested with currents that frequently "blow" vertically.
Originally settled by Scottish and Irish immigrants in the mid-eighteenth century (farmers, hunters and trappers) and despite the ravages of the fierce fighting, and push and pull of the Civil War, the area ultimately developed a reputation for its spectacular views and cool, breezy mountain climate, and became a prized tourist destination.
The Green Park Inn was opened in 1891 by a group of businessmen that included the Green family on extensive acreage then known as "Green Park". Back then, and for many years, the hotel contained the only United States Post Office for the area.( A piece of this original post office remains with the hotel, in our "history room", to this day.) In the late 1950s and early 1960s what is now referred to as "the golf wing" was built, adding somewhat larger rooms and balconies overlooking the golf course to the hotel's inventory. Throughout the decades and generations this Grand Dame of the High Country has hosted such historic and memorable figures as Annie Oakley, J.D. Rockefeller, Eleanor Roosevelt, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, and Margaret Mitchell (who penned part of "Gone With the Wind" while a guest of the hotel) and somewhat less notable, though no less important guests as the Smiths, and the Jones and so many more sojourners in search of a night's respite, or a superb and intriguing vacation destination.
Given the hotel's physical location, straddling the Eastern Continental Divide (at the gateway to the Blue Ridge National Parkway) and its rich history and significance to the North Carolina High Country, the Green Park Inn was rightfully placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. The last of the "Grand Manor Hotels" in western North Carolina she remains the state's second oldest operating resort hotel.
In May, 2010, the Green Park Inn was purchased by New York hotel "affection-ados" Eugene and Steven Irace. Throughout the summer and early fall of 2010 the hotel underwent extensive infrastructure and systems repair and modernization, as well as having been entirely refurnished. We are proud to say that, having made a commitment to "Buy American", much if not most of the hotel's new furnishing were made in America. For example, many of the room furnishings are Thomasville, and manufactured just down the mountain in Lenoir, NC, or in High Point, NC.
The hotel includes 88 guest rooms, approximately one half of which have been, refurbished. All guest rooms contain entirely new room furnishings, most have renovated or updated bathrooms, and many have new carpeting. All of the hotel’s public areas have also been refurbished and contain entirely new furnishing, and new floor finishing in most public areas. Work continue behind the scenes to update and reopen even more guest rooms, and additional public areas such as the Broyhill Room, a 300 person conference and event space, and the Blue Ridge Room, the hotel’s smaller 50-60 persona capacity meeting room.
Following a "gut renovation" of the hotel's kitchen facilities that included 200 feet of underground plumbing trenches, new 400amp electrical service, and entirely new kitchen equipment the Laurel Room Restaurant was re-opened to the public and guests on July 1, 2011, offering fine dining (and event facilities), under the direction and expert hand of award winning, James Beard Society nominee Chef James Welch.
The Proprietors and Staff of the Green Park Inn anticipate even more history being created throughout the many years and decades to come as we welcome you to, or welcome you back to the Historic Green Park Inn.