The 73,000 square foot Green Park Inn opened its doors in summer 1891, the vision of three Lenoir, NC businessmen, led by Civil War veteran Major George Washington Findlay Harper. The posh new hotel featured sixty guest rooms furnished with fireplaces, running water, and electric bell alarms, and was comprised of three levels containing the restaurant and bar, hot and cold bath amenities, a ballroom, billiard room, bowling alley, shooting gallery, tennis court, and a telegraph and post office for public use. The Green Park Inn continued to house the only United States Post Office in the area for many years and guests can glimpse the first sorting system in the History Room of the hotel.
Known as the “Grand Dame of the High Country,” Green Park Inn was a popular vacation spot for luminaries and celebrities including 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 at the inn).
In May 2010, the Green Park Inn was purchased and refurbished by New York hoteliers and brothers Eugene and Steven Irace.
Today, the hotel features eighty-eight guest rooms; multiple common areas, including a lobby, library, and tea room; two event spaces, the Carolina Room and the Blue Ridge Room; the bar, now known as the Divide Tavern; and the updated restaurant now named the Chestnut Grille.The inn recently launched a fitness center available to guests – the very first in its history.
In 1982 The Green Park Inn was placed on the National Register of Historic Places with distinctions about the hotel’s physical location straddling the Eastern Continental Divide and its significance throughout the rich history of North Carolina and the High Country. Green Park Inn is the last of the grand manor hotels in western North Carolina, and is the state’s second oldest operating resort hotel.
For more information, visit greenparkinn.com.