Edwin Wiley Grove owned a small drug business called the Paris Medicine Company in Paris, TN. He became wealthy by creating a tasteless quinine tonic. In 1897, Grove came to Asheville, NC looking for relief from his bronchial problems from the climate there.
Grove spent a lot of time in Asheville and soon became interested in investing in the area. In 1912, he built a residential neighborhood called Grove Park. He then wanted to build a large rustic lodge in Asheville, as he had seen in Yellow Stone. He was unable to find an Architect that could produce his vision, so he recruited Fred Seely – Grove’s son-in-law – to become his partner and help cultivate his vision of a rustic inn on the western slope of Sunset Mountain.
The pair took inspiration from the Arts and Crafts style that was popular at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries in England and in America. This meant incorporating natural materials, embracing an open floor plan, and developing a natural flow between indoor and outdoor spaces. The hotel was built on a base of massive stone with terraced steps, requiring the employment of over 400 men and large teams of mule-drawn wagons to lug these heavy materials up the mountainside. Seely and Grove’s vision became a reality in 1913 when the doors to the Grove Park Inn were opened to the public for the first time. The Inn is still regarded as one of the finest in the world, but has since been updated and expanded. It now boasts 510 guest rooms, an underground spa, retail space, and restaurants.