Pinehurst Resort

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Discover the Pinehurst Resort with wide verandas, afternoon tea, woth meandering bucolic pathways through the quaint New England-style resort village.

Pinehurst Resort, a member of Historic Hotels of America since 1991, dates back to 1895.


Founded in the late 19th century, this luxurious historic resort resides within the celebrated Pinehurst Historic District. The district itself constitutes the entire Village of Pinehurst, which was the brainchild of James Walker Tufts during the 1890s. A Boston-area businessperson, Tufts was interested in creating an accessible holiday destination that specialized in promoting the general health and well-being of its guests. Tufts specifically had his fellow New Englanders in mind, who he wanted to help escape the region’s notoriously long, cold winters. The soda-fountain magnate selected some 6,000 acres in the warm North Carolina Sandhills where he could start developing his utopia. Tufts soon hired the renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted to create the bucolic village. Originally called Tuftstown, Olmsted thoroughly designed a municipal layout that featured a beautiful series of buildings created with Colonial Revival and Queen Anne-style architecture. Among the many historic structures to appear during this time was the first of what would become Pinehurst Resort: The Holly Inn.

Defined by its stenciled ceilings and motif carvings, The Holly Inn debuted before an excited crowd on New Year’s Eve of 1895. Nevertheless, it became an overnight sensation among Pinehurst’s many visitors. The demand for accommodations became so great at The Holly Inn that Tufts had to construct another lodging nearby. Debuting as The Carolina Hotel shortly before Tufts’ death in 1902, the new building quickly endeared itself among the resort’s distinguished clientele. It soon became known as the “Queen of the South,” as well as one of the most recognizable landmarks in the Village of Pinehurst. Both structures would later be joined by a third historic building called The Manor Inn in 1923. All three of these structures have since transformed Pinehurst Resort into one of the nation’s leading vacation getaways. Many of the nation’s most prominent individuals vacationed at the Pinehurst Resort at one point or another, including John D. Rockefeller, John P. Morgan, and Will Rogers. Some celebrities—like Annie Oakley—even worked at Pinehurst for a time. Several U.S. Presidents have even visited the resort, such as Theodore Roosevelt and Warren G. Harding.

Golf has played an integral part in Pinehurst’s ascent as a world-renowned vacation hotspot. Historians today celebrate Pinehurst Resort for its role in popularizing the sport of golf throughout the United States during the Gilded Age. Tufts endeavored to make his fledgling resort the epicenter for American golfers, hiring the renowned Donald Ross to oversee the day-to-day operations of its golfing services. To that end, Ross started developing the first five of Pinehurst’s nine-championship caliber golf courses with the first one appearing in 1898. Yet, Pinehurst’s most famous course—Pinehurst No. 2—would appear later on in 1907. Designed by Donald Ross, it would serve as the site for more championship tournaments than any other golf course in America. Among the many well-known competitions held at Pinehurst No. 2 are the PGA Championship, the Ryder Cup, and the U.S. Open, as well as the North and South Open Championship. Dozens of famous professional golfers have graced its fairways as such, including Sam Snead, Ben Hogan, and Jack Nicklaus. No trip to Pinehurst Resort is thus complete without experiencing its rich historical connection to the sport of golf.

  • About the Location +

    The Village of Pinehurst dates to the height of America’s Gilded Age, when the nation was defined by its great economic prosperity, industrial expansion, and significant social reform. Its story began with John James Walker Tufts, who desired to create an exclusive resort community that would offer a haven for northeastern businesspeople during the winter months. He specifically set about purchasing 6,000 acres in the remote North Caroline Sandhills—a move that many at the time considered to be ill-informed. But Tufts would not be shaken from his conviction as he set about designed the layout for his fledgling town during the early 1890s. To ensure that the community would be nothing short of magnificent, Tufts hired the renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead to oversee the entire project. Celebrated today as the father of American landscape architecture, Olmstead was known at the time for his prior work on Central Park in New York City. Olmstead’s work on the tiny settlement was an absolute masterpiece. He created the layout for a New England-style village complete with curving, twisting roads that led away from a central village green. Olmstead and his firm also planted more than 225,000 local plants throughout the community in an attempt to create the effect that it resided in a tranquil oasis. Although the settlement was originally called “Tuftstown,” it soon became known as “Pinehurst” across the United States.

    Architects from Boston were then summoned to Pinehurst to work on creating the residences and commercial structures within Olmstead’s street grid. The rate of construction for these buildings was incredibly rapid. Close to 40 cottages and boarding homes emerged in the community between 1895 and 1897 alone. Dozens of other significant structures appeared around this time, including the Pinehurst Museum, the Casino and the Village Hall. To the South of the settlement, architects worked closely with Tufts to develop Pinehurst Resort. Soon enough, the southern end of the village became known for its many rolling golf courses. Following Olmstead’s plan, the intent among the architects was to make every single building in the settlement appear as if they had all emerged its dense foliage. Furthermore, they hoped that the structures would better connect their inhabitants to the surrounding landscape. Most of the buildings inside Pinehurst featured an array of architectural styles, with some of the earliest showcasing Queen Anne design aesthetics. As new residents constructed more buildings during the 1910s and 1920s, Colonial Revival-style architecture became the dominant choice in Pinehurst. In all, some 400 unique historic buildings currently reside within village, of which nearly half are cited by the U.S. Department of the Interior to be truly historic. Today, these buildings are recognized by the federal government as being a National Historic Landmark.

  • About the Architecture +

    The Holly Inn opened its doors for the very first time amid an exciting New Year’s Eve celebration in 1895. For $3 apiece, guests could gaze upon the hotel’s stunning variety of architectural features and its cutting-edge amenities. The lobby featured an amazing array of pine wood floor paneling, as well as a beautiful mixture of floral motif carvings, stenciled ceilings, and glass fixtures. The original architectural team had hoped that the interior details would better reflect the beauty of Pinehurst’s stunning landscape. The Holly exterior façade featured an eclectic mixture of various architectural styles, including Queen Anne Revival, Art Nouveau, and Arts and Crafts.

    Yet, the modest size of The Holly Inn made it difficult to accommodate the growing numbers of visitors that arrived at Pinehurst Resort over the next several years. To that end, James W. Tufts commissioned the construction of The Carolina Hotel. When this magnificent four-story, Colonial Revival-style structure debuted in 1901, it quickly became the resort’s most iconic landmark. The hotel’s stunning cupola and its original yellow and white exterior inspired awe among locals and visitors alike. As such, many throughout the nation took to calling it the “Queen of the South.” Its interior was equally impressive, with all of its 250 guestrooms outfitted with steam heat, electric lighting, and active telephone service. The public spaces were inundated with lavish décor, such as sumptuous velvet carpeting. Tufts even saw that his builders installed only the finest oak paneling inside the writing, smoking, and reception rooms.

    Both the Carolina Hotel as well as The Holly Inn were then joined by The Manor Inn many years later in 1990. Originally constructed in 1923 by Emma Bliss, it had originally offered an alternative for vacationers interested in longer stays at the Village of Pinehurst. Her vision for The Manor Inn involved focused on providing an intimate, tranquil experience that was often lost at the larger crowds congregating at the nearby Pinehurst Resort. Pinehurst Resort eventually acquired The Manor Inn some seven decades later as part of a strategy to provide an even greater number of exclusive accommodations. It subsequently underwent a major series of renovations during the 1990s and 2010s, which successfully revitalized the grand historic character of the building.

  • Famous Historic Events +

    Historians today often consider the Pinehurst Resort as having played an integral role in popularizing the sport of golf throughout the United States. Legendary golfers from around the world have played round after round on the resort’s fairways, including the likes of Harry Vardon, Bobby Jones, Gene Sarazen, Byron Nelson, Sam Snead, Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller, Tom Watson, Glenna Collett Vare, Babe Zaharias, Patty Berg, and Louise Suggs. Pinehurst has also hosted numerous professional tournaments, including PGA Championship (1936), the Ryder Cup (1951), the U.S. Amateur Championship (1962, 2008), the U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship (1989), the TOUR Championships (1991, 1992), the U.S. Senior Open (1994), and the U.S. Open Championship (1999, 2005, 2014). Pinehurst Resort even held both the U.S. Open and the U.S. Women’s Open Championship in back-to-back weeks, marking the first time in the sport’s history that the two professional tournaments were played on the same course in the same year. This historic destination will even host the U.S. Open when it returns in 2024.

    When Tufts first established his resort during the 1890s, he fully intended for it to be at the forefront of latest innovations within the international golfing community. As such, he hired Scottish-born Donald J. Ross to oversee Pinehurst Resort’s many golfing operations. Responsible for designing some 400 golf courses across North America, Ross held the role as Pinehurst’s leading authority on golf for five decades. While Tufts had originally intended for Ross to serve as a manager, the soda magnate soon assigned him the important task of developing the resort’s fairways. Among the first projects that Ross pursued while at the resort was the development of Pinehurst No. 1 during the late 1890s. Its popularity proved to be so immense among golfers that the United North and South Championships were held at Pinehurst No. 1 in 1901. Ross then began work on another, even greater golf course. Debuting as “Pinehurst No. 2” in 1907, it quickly became the resort’s most beloved fairway. Many historians consider it to be his greatest masterpiece, which he continued to perfect right up until his death during the late 1940s. It is still celebrated today for its immensely challenging greens, in which only the most precise shots guarantee success.

    The sport of golf has since witnessed many special moments unfold at Pinehurst Resort throughout its history. The legendary Ben Hogan started his meteoric ascent into the annals of golfing lore, with his stunning victory at the North and South Open in 1940. His triumph that year saw the beginning of a career that would include winning the titles of 9 major golf championships. In 1951, two teams of British and American professional golfers faced off in one of the most dramatic Ryder Cup Matches to date. Composed of a group that featured Ben Snead, Jimmy Demaret, and Skip Alexander, the American team managed to edge out their British rivals in a dramatic upset that occurred during the final day of matches. And more recently, Pinehurst No. 2 saw the legendary duel between Patrick Payne and Phil Mickelson during the closing round of the 1999 U.S. Open. The two were neck-in-neck heading into the last two holes of the tournament. Stewart sunk a putt from four feet out on Pinehurst No. 2’s 17th hole, only for Mickelson to hit the hotel from six feet away. But Stewart finally overcame Mickelson by one stroke on the following hole, in which he made an astounding 15-foot putt.

  • Famous Historic Guests +

    John D. Rockefeller, founder of the Standard Oil Company.

    John P. Morgan, financier responsible for creating the J.P. Morgan and Co.

    Anne Oakley, historic sharpshooter and exhibition shooter popular in Gilded Age America.

    Will Rogers, actor known for his roles in such films like Judge Priest, In Old Kentucky, and Steamboat Round the Bend.

    Amelia Earhart, pioneering aviator who was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.

    Jack Nicklaus, winner of 18 major golf championships—the most of any professional golfer.

    Arnold Palmer, winner of 7 major golf championships that include the PGA Championship and the Masters Tournament.

    Sam Snead, winner of 7 major golf championships that include the PGA of America and Senior PGA Tour

    Ben Hogan, winner of 9 major golf championships that include his famous “Triple Crown” season.

    Francis Ouimet, winner of the U.S. Open in 1913 and regarded as the “father of amateur golf.”

    Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States (1901 – 1908)

    Warren G. Harding, 29th President of the United States (1921 – 1923)

  • Women in History +

    Annie Oakley: Annie Oakley was a renowned sharpshooter who became a pop-culture icon for her marksmanship during America’s Gilded Age. Oakley originally got her start at the age of 15, when she first began performing alongside her partner and future husband, Frank E. Butler. The couple eventually became fixtures of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show for a few years, using the platform to become national celebrities. The impact on Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show proved to be significant, as the circus-like pageant quickly endeared itself among American audiences. It even attracted the attention of several prominent international, including Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, King Umberto I of Italy, and President François Said Carnot of France. While touring with the company, she even supposedly shot the cigarette out of the mouth of Germany’s Kaiser Wilhelm II. Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show made Oakley America’s first popular female celebrity. She wound up making more money than anyone else on Buffalo Bill’s Wild West, save for its founder—William “Buffalo Bill” Cody himself. But Oakley also taught thousands of gun-handling lessons throughout her career to interested individuals. Some of those sessions even included a period of time in which she supervised the Pinehurst Resort’s sporting clay club during the late 1910s. Oakley has since become a renowned cultural figure in modern America. Her likeness has been portrayed in countless movies in the years following her death in 1926, including Tall Tales & Legends, Buffalo Girls, and Hidalgo.

    Amelia Earhart: A regular guest at Pinehurst Resort, Amelia Earhart was a legendary aviator who bore the distinction of being the first female to pilot a flight across the Atlantic. Climbing aboard a Fokker Trimotor dubbed “Friendship,” Earhart and her copilot, Wilmer Stultz, began the historic trip from an airfield in Newfoundland in June of 1928. In just under a single day, Earhart and Stultz landed at Pwll in South Wales. She became an overnight international celebrity for her achievement. When Earhart returned to the United States, she was given a massive ticker-tape parade along the Canyon of Heroes in New York City. President Calvin Coolidge even held a reception in her honor at the White House shortly thereafter. Earhart then followed up her grand achievement five years later, when she completed a transatlantic solo flight from Canada to Northern Ireland. Becoming the first woman to finish such a trip alone, Congress bestowed Earhart with the Distinguished Flying Cross. Her fame only continued to grow, as tales of her accomplishments captivated countless Americans. Earhart’s celebrity status even caused her to development a close friendship with Eleanor Roosevelt during the mid-1930s. When she was not busy flying, Earhart served as visiting faculty member in aeronautical engineering at Purdue University, and vigorously supported the causes championed by the National Women’s Party. Earhart also founded the Ninety-Nines, an all-female international organization that supports the professional growth of female pilots. Yet, her career was tragically cut short in 1937, when she disappeared while attempting a circumnavigational trek across the globe.

    Peggy Kirk Bell: Known as “Peggy,” Margaret Anne Kirk Bell was an American professional golfer who strongly promoted the inclusion of women into professional golf. Bell had always held a fascination with the sport, playing her first rounds of golf at the age of 17. She continued her professional career while a student a Rollins College, where she refined her skills by competing in dozens of amateur tournaments. But people throughout the country started paying attention to Bell when she won the Palm Beach Championship and the Titleholders during the late 1940s. She firmly established herself as one of the leading golfers of her age during her performance at the North & South Women’s Amateur Championship in 1949. Bell successfully managed to beat 64 other players, including Estelle Page and Grace Lenczyk—two of the world’s most talented golfers at that time. She went on to have a distinguished career in the world of professional golf, playing a leading role in founding the Ladies Professional Golf Association. Bell was even elected into World Golf Hall of Fame shortly following her death in 2016. Her wonderful legacy can be felt to this very day through Peggy Kirk Bell Girls Golf Tour. The largest tournament in the nation for young girls, the Peggy Kirk Bell Girls Golf Tour continues Bell’s mission to grant women the opportunity to both learn and excel at the sport of golf.

Guest Historian Series

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Nobody Asked Me, But... No. 148;

Hotel History: Pinehurst Resort (1895), Pinehurst, North Carolina*

By Stanley Turkel, CMHS

The history of Pinehurst began in 1895, when Bostonian James Walker Tufts, wealthy owner of the American Soda Fountain Company, purchased 5,800 acres of ravaged timberland in the sand- hills of central North Carolina. This land once held a flourishing pine forest that had been cut and deforested for its turpentine and building supplies. Tufts originally developed Pinehurst as a health resort for patients recovering from tuberculosis. After much of the construction had been completed, Tufts learned that tuberculosis was contagious and was forced to turn his new community into a leisure resort instead.

Tufts hired the land planning firm headed by Frederick Law Olmsted, designer of Central Park and Prospect Park in New York and the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. By the end of 1895, Tufts had completed a general store, dairy, boarding house, more than 20 cottages and the Holly Inn. The Pinehurst Hotel opened in 1901 and became the center of such activities as riding, hunting, polo, lawn bowling, archery, bicycling, and tennis.

Golf came to Pinehurst when Dr. D. Leroy Culver designed a rudimentary nine-hole course. In 1899, Pinehurst's first golf professional, John Dunn Tucker, was hired to add an additional nine holes to create Pinehurst's first 18-hole layout. Then, in 1900, Tufts hired Donald J. Ross, a young Scottish golf professional, who remained at Pinehurst until his death in 1948. Ross built a reputation as one of the foremost golf professionals and course architects who ultimately designed more than 400 golf courses throughout the North American continent.

Over the years, many other sports have hosted championships at Pinehurst including the U.S. Tennis Clay Court Championships, the U.S. Croquet Championship and the World Lawn Bowling Championship. Today, Pinehurst is a quintessential resort encompassing three historic hotels, a wealth of recreational activities, and 2,000 beautiful North Carolina acres. Set in one of America's only National Landmark Districts, Pinehurst's wide verandas, walking trails, and bucolic pathways wind through a scenic New England-style village.

In 2002, the new Spa at Pinehurst was one of the first spas in the South to receive the Mobil Four-Star spa designation.

The eight Pinehurst golf courses feature 144 golf holes and some of the best golf facilities in the world. Most of the greatest players have played Pinehurst: Harry Vardon, Bobby Jones, Gene Sarazen, Byron Nelson, Sam Snead, Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller, Tom Watson, Glenna Collett Vare, Babe Didrickson, Patty Berg, and Louise Suggs. Pinehurst's No. 2 has been the site of the 1936 PGA Championship, the 1951 Ryder Cup Matches, the 1962 and 2008 U.S. Amateur Championships; the 1989 U.S. Women's Amateur Championship, the 1991 and 1992 TOUR Championships, the 1994 U.S. Senior Open, and the 1999 and 2005 U.S. Open Championship.

The Pinehurst Resort is a Four-Star, Four-Diamond full-service property that includes valet parking, bell staff, concierge, business center, and meeting facilities.

*excerpted from my book Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels East of the Mississippi (AuthorHouse 2013)


About Stanley Turkel, CMHS

Stanley Turkel was designated as the 2014 and 2015 Historian of the Year by Historic Hotels of America, the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This award is presented to an individual for making a unique contribution in the research and presentation of history and whose work has encouraged a wide discussion, greater understanding and enthusiasm for American History.

Stanley Turkel is one of the most widely published authors in the hospitality field. Two of his hotel books have been promoted, distributed and sold by the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (Great American Hoteliers: Pioneers of the Hotel Industry and Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels East of the Mississippi). A third hotel book (Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels in New York) was called "passionate and informative" by The New York Times. His fourth hotel book was described by The New York Times: "Nostalgia for the City's caravansaries will be kindled by Stanley Turkel's...fact-filled...Hotel Mavens: Lucius M. Boomer, George C. Boldt and Oscar of the Waldorf."

Built to Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels East of the Mississippi is available for purchase from the publisher by visiting bookstore.aut

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