Pinehurst Historic District
The Pinehurst Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in the early 1970s and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1996. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original NHL nomination document. [†] Adaptation copyright © 2014, The Gombach Group.
The Pinehurst Historic District, an oasis-like planned recreational resort community comprising some 400 buildings and structures, two golf courses, tennis courses, a major equestrian facility and related resources, occupies a unique place in the history of American resort communities. At Pinehurst, a designed network of curvilinear roads embracing the village green in a lush evergreen landscape forms the canvas on which late-Victorian, Colonial Revival, and Bungalow-style hotels, cottages, stores, and churches were built, golf courses were laid out, tennis courts, bowling greens, and croquet courts were devised, and horse stables and a race track were erected. Here the captains of American commerce, finance, and industry, their families and their friends, sought active recreational pleasures at a winter resort which became the model for a subsequent generation of like resorts in the twentieth century. The story of this rich saga in American social and recreational life is recalled by the buildings, landscapes, and resources of the district and documented in the pages of the resort newspaper, The Pinehurst Outlook, published weekly from October 1897 until October 1961.
The creation of Pinehurst and its integrity as a remarkably intact planned recreational resort community reflect the genius of the Tufts family, the designers, and Donald James Ross, who oversaw the initiation of the handsome resort and its fortunes throughout its period of significance, 1895-1948. In the history of American resorts and the smaller category of winter resorts, Pinehurst is unique in having been conceived in 1895, originally as a health resort, and held until 1970 by three generations of the Tufts Family of Boston: James Walker Tufts (1835-1902), the founder; his son and heir Leonard Tufts (1870-1945) who directed the resort from 1902 until 1930; and Leonard Tuft's sons, Richard Sise Tufts (1896-1980) and his two brothers. The design of the picturesque village and the creation of an evergreen resort landscape were conceptualized by Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr. (1822-1903) in 1895. Warren H. Manning, (1860-1938), designated as architect-in-charge of the project in the firm of Olmsted, Olmsted and Eliot, established his own office in 1896 and carried the Pinehurst project with him, with Olmsted's blessing. From 1896 until his death in 1938, Manning, who became one of America's most prominent landscape architects and city planners, was the single landscape architect for the Tufts family at Pinehurst: during this forty-six year period of design stewardship, he preserved the critical features of Olmsted's vision while expanding the resort to accommodate new patrons and winter residents and to offer additional recreational venues. The third major figure of overriding importance in the history of Pinehurst and recreation in America was Donald James Ross (1872-1948), a Scottish-born golf professional who came to Pinehurst in 1900 and remained here until his death. During this period he designed and refined the resort's golf courses, directed its golf programs, and achieved international fame as America's most prolific golf course architect (400+ courses). In the process, he created an extraordinary course on #2 which has been recognized for nearly sixty years as one of the top ten courses in the United States.
Under the date November 22, 1895, James W. Tufts of Boston sent a letter addressed "To Physicians" advising them of a new project he had undertaken in North Carolina. That letter, and the pamphlet mailed under its cover, was the first announcement made of the resort which Tufts was developing at Pinehurst, Moore County, in the Sandhills region of North Carolina. It would appear from the contents of the letter that Tufts clearly set forth the background of his undertaking in the pamphlet. While copies of that pamphlet are lost, the language of later pamphlets probably repeats its message:
The aim is to establish a health resort adapted to the needs of people of refined taste, who require the beneficial effects of a winter in the South, but cannot afford to pay the usual high price for accommodations. Those whose health is impaired must have such comforts and conveniences as they have at home. They must have plenty of good, nourishing food, well cooked; with pleasant surroundings, interests, amusements, occupations and agreeable companions .... Pinehurst is not a sanitarium for invalids but a health resort for the weary and overworked.
Care is taken in the selection of an orderly and refined class of guests. No liquors are sold.
As a businessman, Tufts realized that the success of his venture was dependent upon cooperation and a sure foundation. He put the matter plainly in the letter:
In order to secure the best possible results, I desire to obtain the cooperation of medical men who may send such tenants and guests as will help me to accomplish the purposes for which the town is established. While it will be evident that my work is of a semi-philanthropic character, yet I desire it to appear in the light of a business enterprise, also that it may attract only a refined and intelligent class of people. Physicians are best qualified to judge not only of the physical condition, but also of the financial status of those who require a change of climate, and I trust that the benefits which may result from my undertaking will be furthered by their personal interest in making it successful.
His appeal made, Tufts also provided practical information to the physicians and their patients advising them of the reduced rates by steamer from Boston to Portsmouth, Virginia and the half rate of fare (which he had negotiated) by Seaboard Air Line Railroad from Portsmouth to Southern Pines, the nearest railroad station. There patients might also room and board at the Ozone Hotel until his own accommodations were available at Pinehurst after January 1, 1896. Tufts was able to open the doors of the Holly Inn to guests in February 1896 and to accommodate guests for a short season in the Winter of 1895-1896. He opened the resort for a second and longer winter season in 1896-1897. In his 1895 letter, Tufts had made it clear he did not wish to receive guests who were "in advanced stages of consumption," believing that tuberculosis was communicable only when the disease was near the end of its course. At the end of the second season, Dr. Arthur T. Cabot and Dr. F. B. Harrington, both cited as references on Tufts's 1895 letter, advised him that tuberculosis was communicable at any stage and recommended that he should not accept consumptives at his new resort. In June 1897, he issued a "Note to Consumptives":
Under the new rules admission of guests whose Lungs are diseased will be restricted. Association with persons afflicted with Tuberculosis is now regarded as hazardous especially to those who have hereditary tendency toward Consumption. The interest of the many whose health requires that they spend the winter at Pinehurst must not be sacrificed for the few who carry in themselves the danger of contagion.
Tufts's philanthropic hopes for Pinehurst were dashed by the advanced study in medical science, and he was forced to make even more calculated decisions about the future of his new resort at Pinehurst. Given relatively few options, Tufts re-focused his energies and the direction of the resort. In 1897, he both restricted consumptives from Pinehurst and laid the foundation for its development as a winter recreational resort of international fame. In that same critical year, he oversaw the laying-out of the first nine-hole golf course at Pinehurst by Dr. D. LeRoy Culver which would bring Pinehurst even greater renown.
While the philanthropic or "semi-philanthropic" nature of Tufts's undertaking is known and has been often described, the formative history of the project remains somewhat unclear and unknown. Even in the early 1970s when Richard Sise Tufts, the grandson of the resort's founder, undertook to write a history of the resort, he found himself grappling with the answers to various questions about his grandfather's activities. Some matters remained unexplained in the typewritten manuscript which was incomplete at his death in 1980.
James Walker Tufts (1835-1902) was born in Charlestown, Massachusetts, on February 11, 1835 to Leonard and Hepsa (Fosdick) Tufts. He was educated at the Training Field School and at the age of fifteen, by his choice, he was placed as an apprentice with Samuel Kidder & Co., apothecaries. At the end of his apprenticeship, he established his own apothecary business in Somerville where he marketed his Tufts Bronchial Troches and other medicines. He later acquired a pharmacy in Medford Square, Medford where he met and was married to Mary E. Clough. Their son, Leonard Tufts, was born on June 30, 1870. Over the course of time Tufts established himself as a prominent and prosperous druggist in Boston and made the operation of his soda fountains an important line of his stores. His experiments led to the patenting and manufacture of Tufts Arctic Soda Fountains. In 1891, his company merged with three others to form the American Soda Fountain Company with Tufts as president. James W. Tufts also manufactured a line of Victorian silver-plated hollowware for the home under his own name.
In the 1880s, as his wealth grew, Tufts was attracted to a number of benevolent causes. Interested in the conditions of labor, he established a mutual benefit association for his employees, built model tenement housing for Boston laborers, and was a director of the North End Union which sponsored an apprentice program. In the later 1880s or early 1890s, Tufts's health began to fail and, according to family tradition, he made one or more trips to Florida during the winter to rest and recuperate. During this period he also contributed to the efforts of the Invalid Aid Society in which the Rev. Edward Everett Hale was involved.
There are varying accounts of how Tufts came to learn of the warm climate and pine-scented and presumably therapeutic air of the Sandhills of North Carolina. Unfortunately, he left no surviving record and, after his death, a number of people were cited as having influenced his decision to come to North Carolina. One sure influence was the Rev. Benjamin Asbury Goodridge who came to Southern Pines in 1885 with his wife because of her health. Southern Pines was then touted as a health resort. The couple remained there until 1890 and during that period Goodridge published a journal called the "Pine Knot" which extolled the qualities of the Sandhills. Mrs. Goodridge recovered and the couple returned to Boston in 1890. Almost simultaneously, Dr. Goodridge's sister, Sarah, and her husband, Retyre M. Couch, began the construction of the Ozone Hotel in Southern Pines. In Boston, Mrs. Goodridge became associated with Rev. Hale's Lend A Hand movement and probably met James Tufts through that association. The Goodridge's long and successful stay in Southern Pines convinced them of the merits of the region, and they shared their appreciation of its mild climate and therapeutic pine-scented air. It is unknown, at present, when James Tufts first came to Southern Pines and Moore County and looked over the region in which he would establish his resort. However, given the speed with which events occurred in the second half of 1895, it seems virtually certain that he must have inspected lands in the Sandhills prior to June 1895 when he settled on a specific location for his enterprise. These visits might well have occurred while he was traveling to or from Florida in the early 1890s. In addition to the Couches, his local contact for these visits appears to have been Henry A. Page, Sr. who, with his family, owned vast timberlands in the Sandhills as well as their railroad and other business interests at Aberdeen. According to tradition, Tufts also inspected a large tract near Hoffman, North Carolina, along the Richmond/Scotland County border, and a tract on the Barnett-Cumberland County line that eventually became the winter estate of Percy Avery Rockefeller (1878-1934).
Although Tufts did not have absolute legal title to the property on which Pinehurst would be built until well after he had erected the core of the resort and opened it for its first season, he must have felt entirely confident of his actions. The preparation of the deed for the large tract was delayed until Francis Deaton could complete a thorough survey of the property, and prepare a comprehensive map of the acreage. Based on Deaton's preliminary map, Olmsted, Olmsted and Eliot prepared a "Diagram for location of Hotel and Cottages" with the date of July 6, 1895.
A series of five letters written by James Tufts to his wife Mary in July 1895 indicate the speed and extent of his operations in the summer of that year. On July 23 he wrote to her from the St. James Hotel in Norfolk, Virginia, where he stopped with Samuel F. Hubbard, a personal associate, who had accompanied Tufts to the Sandhills in June 1895. "I saw him (the president of the Seaboard Air Line Railroad) about 10 o'clock last night but did not make much impression upon him at first but when I showed him Mr. Olmsted's plans and the cottage plans he was much interested and it has finally resulted in my getting a half rate fare for my people."
The following Sunday, Tufts wrote from Southern Pines, "I have engaged a builder here to work for me at $4.00 a day as superintendent but I fear there will be a delay in getting started. He thinks he can get all the help we want and we shall probably put on a hundred men." He concluded the third letter, of July 16, writing, "I shall increase the force of men employed in clearing the ground. It is strange and pitiful to see how anxious the men are to get work .... Indeed I am not expected to find even shelter for them and could employ hundreds. Carpenters and masons too are begging for work. So that I think we shall give employment for enough to get the houses ready in time."
The diagrammatic plan of Pinehurst which Tufts showed to the president of the railroad survives in the Olmsted Archives. The earliest surviving plan in the Tufts Archives is dated September 7, 1895 and it bears the firm name of Olmsted, Olmsted and Eliot and identifies Warren H. Manning as landscape architect in charge. This later plan, frequently used in Pinehurst publications in the early years, featured a curvilinear pattern of streets embracing an oval-shaped village green. The Holly Inn, the first hotel erected in Pinehurst, stood at the head, or north end, of the green. The "cottage plans" which Tufts shared with the president of the railroad were probably prepared by Burr & Sise who designed the Holly Inn or by Kendall, Taylor & Stevens who later designed the Carolina Hotel. Both firms were located in Boston. Lyman Sise (1862-1943) of Burr & Sise was the brother of Tufts's daughter-in-law Gertrude.
Francis Deaton, a surveyor, was one of the first people hired by James Tufts. The two men worked together while Tufts was on site in July settling on the line of the electric railroad which would connect Pinehurst with the railroad station at Southern Pines to ferry guests back and forth. During the course of that summer, Deaton completed a topographic survey of the village, surveyed the boundary of the tract being purchased from the Page Family, and laid out a grid by which to locate the roads and lots making up the resort. He also located the boards for the cottages and other buildings except the hotel which Tufts himself is said to have located. Concurrently, there were crews of workmen clearing the 100-acre village site of scrub growth and debris left over from the timbering and turpentine operations.
At the same time, or shortly thereafter, Alex C. Campbell of Cameron, believed to be the builder engaged in July by Tufts, set about to erect the two dozen buildings which were ready when the resort opened to guests early in 1896. Richard Tufts writes that in late November 1895, when Campbell was pushing work forward, that he had a construction crew of 174 men. At the same time, J. H. Gillis had a crew of ninety-five men working on the railroad line, Retyre Couch had a crew of forty-seven men at work, and Arthur C. Butler had a crew of 134 at work at the power house and on the electric light, water and sewer systems. Thus, at what might have been the height of activity, as many as 451 men were working at Pinehurst. During this period it appears that Retyre M. Couch, formerly the manager of the Ozone Hotel in Southern Pines, was Tufts's superintendent carrying out the general plan approved by Tufts. Also during the fall, Otto Katzenstein, a German nurseryman hired through Olmsted, Olmsted and Eliot, was developing the nursery and gathering local plant material to use in Pinehurst. The entire 100-acre village was eventually enclosed with a "Page Woven Wire Fence" to keep out the region's razorback hogs, stray cattle, and dogs.
Between July 1895 and the first opening of Pinehurst in February 1896, a total of twenty-three major buildings were erected for use by guests. The largest of these was the Holly Inn which contained forty-three bedrooms and opened under the management of John H. Atwood and his wife. The Pine Grove House, The Oaks, and Hanover were boarding houses. There were fourteen cottages which ranged in size from four rooms to eleven rooms. Four buildings offered rooms, suites, or apartments. A store building was the lone commercial structure in the village. The cottages were rented by the season while the hotels and boarding houses offered accommodations for shorter periods. The Magnolia, a boarding house, and the Casino were started in 1895 but were not ready for use until the 1896-1897 season.
The hotel, boarding houses, and cottages all bore the names of plants or flowers or place names from New England given to them by Tufts's daughter. The exception was Hale Cottage, named for the Rev. Edward Everett Hale. That pattern in naming cottages would continue into the early twentieth century when some cottages were given the names of counties in North Carolina or Colonial Governors. The streets in Pinehurst likewise bore a mix of plant and historical names including Dogwood, Magnolia, Azalea, Laurel, Palmetto, and Chinquapin roads. Cherokee Road might have been named either for the Cherokee Rose or the Cherokee Indians; Everette Road was surely named for the Rev. Edward Everett Hale.
From surviving correspondence, it is clear that Benjamin A. Goodridge was actively engaged by Tufts in the promotion of Pinehurst and assisted him in the preparation of the original brochure mailed to physicians in November 1895. A year later, in November 1896, Goodridge published an article on the resort in New England Magazine. Entitled "A New England Village in the Southern Pines," the article was illustrated with thirty photographs of the fledgling resort's buildings and landscapes, local inhabitants and scenery, and a map of the village plan. Goodridge repeated the benevolent intentions of Tufts's resort.
Pinehurst is intended to bring comfort, happiness and health within reach of those who must otherwise stay at home until they are beyond cure. It is not a sanitarium for hopeless invalids. It has no hospital features. It is a bright, cheery New England village, attractively laid out and carefully controlled to make its sanitary conditions perfect and permanent. It invites those in whom disease has not progressed too far for recovery, to avail themselves of advantages which so far as I know are absolutely unequaled.
To operate and manage his hotel and boarding houses, James Tufts turned to men and women who were experienced in operating summer hotels and inns in New England. These people not only brought their experience to the operation of the resort, but they were in positions, during the summer, to encourage their patrons and friends to enjoy their hospitality at Pinehurst during the winter. There, in Pinehurst, they would also attend to their every need and guarantee a pleasant stay. This practice proved to be important to the early success of the resort. J. H. Atwood, the manager of the Holly Inn, operated Weir's Hotel, Weirs, New Hampshire. J. L. Pottle, of the Highland House, Jefferson, New Hampshire, managed the Pine Grove House, a boarding house, for the first season and in 1896-1897 he moved to the Magnolia. He was replaced at Pine Grove by W. W. Trickey, the summer manager of the Jackson Falls House, Jackson Falls, New Hampshire. Mrs. E. A. Upham had charge of the Pine Rest House the first season but moved to the Casino for the following three seasons. During the first season the hotel and boarding houses accommodated guests and at least four of the cottages were rented. Dr. Frederick W. Bradbury of Providence, Rhode Island, opened an office in Mistletoe Cottage in December 1895 and would serve as the village physician for many seasons.
In anticipation of the second season, fourteen new cottages were completed in Pinehurst and a crew set about planting the decorative shrubbery beds. The pattern of operation continued in place for the second season. The Casino opened for meals on November 15 and offered a library and a parlor with piano for ladies, and a smoking room, billiard room, and reading room for gentlemen on the second story. Outdoor activities included tennis and rogue, a form of croquet. Surviving records show that at least nineteen cottages were rented for the second season. It should be noted that all of the cottages were fitted with electric lights and running water and were connected to the main sewer system.
At the close of the second season in the spring of 1897, James Tufts was faced with a series of decisions concerning the future of his young resort. The manner in which he resolved these and related issues established the foundation for the resort's impressive growth in the early twentieth century, its-rise in status, and its emergence as a national golfing center. In retrospect, it appears that he made decisions quickly and acted decisively. Acting upon the advice of Drs. Cabot and Harrington in June 1897, immediately upon the closing of the second winter season, Tufts issued the notice that consumptives, in any stage of the disease, could not be allowed at Pinehurst in the future. Faced now with the need for healthy guests for his winter resort, Tufts was able to enlist the very hotel managers, boarding house and inn keepers who had served him ably in the first two seasons. They could encourage the families who spent summer holidays at their hotels in New Hampshire to come to Pinehurst for winter holidays.
In 1895 when James Walker Tufts acquired nearly 6,000 acres of mostly cut-over timber land in Moore County, North Carolina, he did not set out initially to create the type of recreational resort which Pinehurst became in the early twentieth century and which achieved national significance under the management of his son Leonard Tufts and his grandson Richard Sise Tufts. Instead, his intention was philanthropic and influenced by the benevolent impulses of Dr. Edward Everett Hale's Lend A Hand movement. It was also influenced by contemporary health and social movements which advocated fresh air and sunshine and which, for many years, recognized the therapeutic values of the pine-scented air, or ozone, found in such abundance in the Sandhills of North Carolina. Tufts, himself, did not enjoy robust health and in the 1880s and early 1890s, he traveled south as far as Florida in the winter to seek fresh air, sunshine, and recovery. Recognizing the effects the southern climate made in his own condition, he saw its value for a wider population. Encouraged by Dr. John Warren Achorn and the Rev. Benjamin Asbury Goodridge, he came to the Sandhills and acquired the property on which he would set about to create a resort. In retrospect, it seems almost unbelievable that a man of Tufts's background and wealth would undertake such a project in a landscape that had been laid to near-waste by naval stores and lumbering operations. But he did, and the creation of a major planned recreational resort community, an oasis in the Sandhills of North Carolina is a principal feature of Pinehurst's importance.
Knowledgeable of what Henry Morrison Flagler (1830-1913) was doing at St. Augustine and Palm Beach and Henry B. Plant was undertaking on the west coast of Florida, Tufts initially undertook to create a smaller and different kind of resort. Like other Americans, Tufts could stand in awe of the fabulously rich appearance of Flagler's Hotel Ponce de Leon which opened early in 1888. His concept, the climate, and the landscape of the Sandhills were different and required a different approach. However, he did not intend that Pinehurst would be in any way inferior to the Florida resorts.
For the plan of his resort James Tufts turned to Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr., and Olmsted, Olmsted and Eliot—the most prominent landscape architect and design firm, respectively, in America—who had produced the plans for the most successful parks, urban and suburban communities, institutional grounds, and public and private landscapes in the nineteenth century. In the summer of 1895, Olmsted, Sr. (1822-1903), was already suffering from the illness which would finally incapacitate him during the final years of his life. Nevertheless, it was Olmsted, Sr., to whom Tufts turned and it was Olmsted, Sr., who devised the original concept for the evergreen resort village of Pinehurst. Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr., never visited Pinehurst: his plan for the resort village was based on the preliminary survey of the property prepared by Francis Deaton together with Tufts's description of the type of place he envisioned for the Sandhills resort. Within the firm of Olmsted, Olmsted and Eliot, the project was turned over to a junior member, Warren H. Manning. Manning had come to work with the firm in January 1888, and he remained in its employ until December 1895.
† Davyd Foard Hood and Laura A. W. Phillips, Pinehurst Historic District, Moore County, NC, nomination document, 1995, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.