History of the Pine Crest Inn
“The Inn Like Home”
When New Englander James Walker Tufts began developing Pinehurst, NC in the late 1890’s, the area quickly emerged as a winter destination for Northerners who were looking to enjoy a game of golf. As the resort at Pinehurst gained popularity after the turn of the century, it became obvious that more hotel rooms were needed. Mrs. E. C. Bliss of Edgewood, Rhode Island, saw an opportunity to become a hotel owner.
After ten seasons of operating the nearby Lexington Hotel, Mrs. Bliss decided to venture out on her own. On February 5, 1913, construction began on the Pine Crest Inn with over 50 area residents witnessing the ground breaking ceremony with both great interest and concern.Their concern was caused by a nearby baseball field. Baseball was played with great fervor in the early days of Pinehurst and the locals did not want their field to be compromised. Fortunately, it was said that a foul ball never struck the side of the Pine Crest Inn and both baseball and the Inn continued to flourish side by side.
After eight months of construction, the news media was greeted at the completed Pine Crest Inn which opened on November 1, 1913. The local newspaper, The Pinehurst Outlook, reported as follows:
“The most marked evidence of growth in Pinehurst is noted as Mrs. E.C. Bliss’ new hotel, the Pine Crest Inn, which comes as a delightful addition to the list of hotels; its comfort is suggested by the charm of the exterior.
Spacious colonial pillared verandas, glass entrance doors,
and the decorative treatment of the building itself make it
a sparkling note of color against the distant sky and pines.”
The Pine Crest Inn became very popular among seasonal guests and was an immediate success.This success caught the eye of Pinehurst Country Club’s golf professional, Donald J. Ross.After several years of negotiation with Mrs. Bliss, Ross and close friend, W. J. MacNab, purchased the Pine Crest Inn in 1921.
Upon Ross’ purchase of Pine Crest Inn, Mrs. Bliss returned to her position at the Lexington Hotel. Later she purchased and demolished the building in order to build the Manor Hotel, which remains today. Mrs. Bliss worked a total of 33 years in the hotel business, which made her one of the most prominent figures in the Pinehurst hospitality industry. She died in Pinehurst in 1936, but her contributions live on within the Inn.
Today’s ownership of the Pine Crest Inn includes Peter Barrett as General Manager and his brother Bobby Barrett, a local CPA in Pinehurst. This once small family business has grown considerably, hosting over 7,500 guests annually, serving 15,000 meals, and pouring 45,000 drinks. The Pine Crest Inn operates 12 months a year with 50 employees on any given day.
The hallways of the Pine Crest have been graced by the likes of Bobby Jones, Henry Cotton, Francis Ouimet, Annie Oakley, Frank Stranahan, Harvie Ward, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Ben Crenshaw, Roger Maltbie, Curtis Strange, Payne Stewart, and Cory Pavin, just to name a few. Baseball greats Sparky Lyle, Graig Nettles, Ralph Houk, Lew Burdette, Tommy Davis, and Warren Spahn all visited in 1992 while participating in a local golf outing.
The Pine Crest Inn, which Mrs. Bliss so accurately described in the first ever advertisement for the property in 1913: “The Inn Like A Home,” is about to begin its year-long Centennial Celebration in November of 2012 culminating on its 100th Birthday on November 1, 2013.
Mrs. Emma C. Bliss James MacNab & Donald Ross
Mr. Carl Moser Peter Barrett, Mr. Robert Barrett, Bobby Barrett