Nov. 19, 2012. The historic Green Park Inn in Blowing Rock was recently honored with a Preservation Success Story Award by Historic Hotels of America, a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
The Award was presented on Nov. 8, in Ojai, Calif., at the organization’s annual conference, in recognition of the significant restoration work that the hotel’s new ownership have undertaken since their purchase of the property in May of 2010. Prior to that time, the 121 year old hotel had sat vacant for over a year, and during its previous 20 years of operation, had been badly neglected, resulting in its having fallen into a seriously deteriorated condition.
The Green Park Inn, the last of the Grand Manor Hotels in Western North Carolina, is one of approximately 244 hotels and resorts throughout the country that is recognized by Historic Hotels of America for preserving and maintaining its historic integrity, architecture and ambiance.
Over the past two and a half years owners Steve and Gene Irace have overseen work that has included demolishing and rebuilding 14 balconies, completely repainting the 60,000 square foot building’s exterior, and substantially repainting its interior, a complete gut renovation of the hotel’s kitchen requiring the addition of new, 400 amp electrical service, one ton of supporting structural steel plus installation of all new appliances, a daunting overhaul of the building’s steam, electrical, and plumbing systems, installation of thousands of yards of new carpeting plus entirely new room and public area furnishings, and additional structural support work. In addition, 2 new roofs were installed, various roof repairs were made building wide, numerous doors and windows were replaced, additional insulation was installed throughout and work was undertaken on the property’s four acres of grounds.
The hotel was also honored with a Family Hotelier Award.
“We simply could not be more proud to have been honored with these acknowledgments, and of the work that all of our staff and trades people have accomplished,” said Steve Irace. “We definitely feel that our efforts at preserving this National Historic Register property have been successful, and feel that the Family Hotelier’s honor is also an acknowledgment of our entire Green Park Inn family. We could not have succeeded in our efforts without the dedication and loyalty of our wonderful staff.”
“The trend of cultural travel in America continues to grow,” said Thierry Roch, executive director of Historic Hotels of America. “By awarding these honors to the Green Park Inn, we are continuing to encourage historic preservation while at the same time showcasing this hotel’s unique history.”
“We’re very honored by having been recognized by this special group of our peers,” said Lorry Mulhern, Restoration Project Manager and General Manager of the hotel.
The Green Park Inn is rich in history and architectural integrity. Opened in 1891, in the Victorian style hotel was then the most modern accommodation in the High Country, offering amenities such as hot and cold baths, electric bells to summon serving staff, and fresh water drawn from its mountain spring. The hotel was the first in the area to provide electricity to each of its guest rooms and it also contained a telegraph and post office. These “luxuries”, combined with a very active social agenda, made the hotel a magnet for city dwellers seeking a respite from the summer heat, in the cool mountain breezes of Blowing Rock.
Today, the hotel’s modern amenities include complimentary WiFi throughout, flat screen HD TVs in guestrooms, and a made to order breakfast included in the room rates. The hotel also contains a full service restaurant and a Tavern that also serves dinner.
The hotel frequently offers live music, and special themed evenings and events.
About Historic Hotels of America
Historic Hotels of America was founded in 1989 by the National Trust for Historic Preservation with 32 charter members. In 2007, Preferred Hotel Group partnered with the National Trust to grow and enhance Historic Hotels of America. Today, the group’s over 200 member hotels faithfully maintain their authenticity, sense of place, and architectural integrity.