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Guest Historian Series: Stanley Turkel, CMHS
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.authorhouse.com.