The History of the Grand View

By Alexander Virden

The Grand View Hotel was originally completed in 1902 and opened with under the name The Saint George Hotel. The walls are fourteen inches thick and every brick, of the original building, was made in Berryville and all the original wood work is clear, not a knot to be found. The hotel was brought to life with the arrival of a special excursion train to Berryville and gala dance in the grand ball room. In it’s early years the hotel was handled by a quick succession of people. The first operator of the hotel was F.M. O’Neal of Green Forest who took care of the hotel until 1905. From 1906 to 1909 H. D. Case took over, advertising rooms for two dollars a day. J. P. Whiteley carried it for the year of 1909, then in 1910 M. M. Hoagland took over. Hoagland remodeled the building, adding the additional balconies and refurnishing the hotel. He advertised pointing out the virtues of the spring water and fresh mountain air.

S. C. Stokes took over for a year in 1912. From 1916 to 1926 Mrs. A. J. Morrow handled the hotel. In 1926 Mr. And Mrs. L. C. Smith took over and renamed the hotel The Grand View, because of the views from the high porches. At some point during it’s history the two words were combined, to Grandview. By examining old pictures we discovered that the original format was to separate the words and thus we have returned to this form. When Mr. Smith died, his widow continued to run the hotel until it was sold to Dr. John H. Bohannan in 1943. Dr. Bohannan hired Mr. and Mrs. John Emmett of Green Forest to manage the hotel and they were known to run it as late as 1969 and possibly until it closed a few years later. During the early fifties the commercial spaces were added to the ground floor, to bring in rental income for the building.

In 1984 the Grand View was purchased by Phillis and Carl Loehr. They began an extensive remodeling attempt, to bring the hotel up to modern standards. While the Loehrs never managed to get the hotel open, they did accomplish a great deal of work. Tons of old plaster had to be removed in order to plumb and wire the building. They put in new trunk lines for the electrical in the main building as well as adding plumbing for fourteen bathrooms. Unfortunately the project floundered and the hotel sank backwards as it sat for many years and birds managed to find their way in as well as mountains of pack rat piles. To date we have removed over 200 cubic yards of junk and are going to get a least one more 40 yard dumpster before we open.

I purchased the hotel in November of 2005. Since then it has been an all consuming process. There was no working plumbing and few lights on when we entered. Just locating all the ways the pigeons find their way into the building was a contest of will.  In the eleven years I have owned the hotel I have had quite a journey. As I expand this website I will tell the whole story and it’s one well worth hearing.