The Omni Homestead Resort

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The Homestead
TheHomesteadFront.JPG
Front view of The Homestead Resort
The Omni Homestead Resort is located in Virginia
The Omni Homestead Resort
LocationUS 220, Hot Springs, Virginia
Coordinates37°59′43.70″N 79°49′46.72″W / 37.9954722°N 79.8296444°W / 37.9954722; -79.8296444Coordinates: 37°59′43.70″N 79°49′46.72″W / 37.9954722°N 79.8296444°W / 37.9954722; -79.8296444
Area2,300 acres (930 ha)
Built1892
ArchitectMultiple
Architectural styleQueen Anne, Greek Revival, Colonial Revival
NRHP reference #84003494[1]
VLR #008-0025
Significant dates
Added to NRHPMay 3, 1984
Designated NHLJuly 17, 1991[3]
Designated VLRMarch 20, 1984[2]

The Omni Homestead Resort is a luxury resort in Hot Springs, Virginia, in the middle of the Allegheny Mountains. The area has the largest hot springs in the commonwealth, and the resort is also known for its championship golf courses, which have hosted several national tournaments. The resort also includes an alpine ski resort; founded in 1959, it is the oldest in Virginia. The resort has been designated a National Historic Landmark; it has a history extending more than two and a half centuries. The Omni Homestead Resort is a member of Historic Hotels of America[4] the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

History[edit]

The Homestead in 1903
Old wing of the resort in 2016
Lobby of the resort in 2016

In 1766, Thomas Bullitt built a lodge on the site, which is considered the founding of The Homestead. In 1832, Dr. Thomas Goode (physician) purchased the land from the Bullitt family and expanded the medical therapies, establishing a European style of spa treatment and hydrotherapy. It has hosted vacationers ever since, including twenty-three U.S. presidents.

The modern resort dates from 1888-1892, when a group of investors headed by J. P. Morgan bought the business and started rebuilding it from the ground up. The original hotel buildings burned down in 1901 caused by a fire in the bakery. The main Homestead hotel was constructed afterwards, one wing a year, with the main lobby reconstructed in 1902.

Many American Presidents and influential people were Homestead guests. William Howard Taft spent July and August, 1908 at the Homestead, working and relaxing before the final campaign push, as did outgoing President Theodore Roosevelt, for a short period of time.[5] Other notable guests included cartoonist Carl E. Schultze of Foxy Grandpa fame.

From December 1941 until June 1942, following the United States' entry into World War II, the Homestead served as a high-end internment camp for 785 Japanese diplomats and their families until they could be exchanged through neutral channels for their American counterparts.[6][7] The diplomats were later transferred to the Greenbrier Hotel in West Virginia.[8]

In 1943, during World War II, The Homestead hosting a very important conference of the United Nations in which was implemented the foundation of Food and Agriculture Organization[9][10].

In 1993, The Homestead was purchased by Club Resorts, the same company which owned the Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina. In 2006, Club Resorts and its parent company ClubCorp, Inc. were acquired by a private-equity group led by KSL Capital Partners, LLC. KSL Resorts assumed management of The Homestead at this time. KSL sold the resort to Omni Hotels in 2013 and it was renamed The Omni Homestead Resort.[11]

It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1991. Associated with The Homestead are the Homestead Dairy Barns, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2007.[1]

Golf[edit]

Cascades Course logo

The Homestead features two golf courses. The club is sometimes referred to as Virginia Hot Springs Golf & Tennis Club.

The Old Course started as a six-hole layout in 1892, and the first tee is the oldest in continuous use in the United States.[12] It was expanded to 18 holes by 1901, and Donald Ross redesigned it in 1913. The course has been modified at various times since, and the current course has six par 5s and six par 3s.

The Cascades Course is the most famous of the two, and is usually ranked among the top 100 U.S. courses by both Golf Digest and GOLF Magazine. The Cascades is the course used when hosting national tournaments, including seven United States Golf Association championships. It was designed by William S. Flynn (who was also a main architect for Shinnecock Hills), and opened in 1923.

There was formerly a third course, the Lower Cascades, which was designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. in 1963. It hosted qualifying rounds for the U.S. Amateur tournament. It was closed following the 2012 season.

Famed PGA Tour champion Sam Snead lived in or near Hot Springs all of his life, and served for decades as the Homestead's golf pro.

Tournaments[edit]

Recreation[edit]

The resort features a large (60,000 sq. ft.) spa area. There are also a number of formal and informal dining options available on premises.

Ski resort[edit]

The ski area at The Homestead was opened in 1959;[13] it is the oldest ski resort in Virginia.

The resort's main and only northwest-facing slope is serviced by three lifts, including a double chairlift which accesses the intermediate and advanced terrain at the top of the hill, and two surface lifts which serve the beginner terrain at the bottom and at the tubing hill. The chairlift has a mid-mountain drop-off station which accesses intermediate terrain. The resort offers a variety of other winter activities including snow tubing.

Statistics:[edit]

Elevation[edit]

  • Summit Elevation: 3,200 ft (980 m)
  • Base Elevation: 2,500 ft (760 m)
  • Vertical Rise: 700 feet (210 m)

Terrain[edit]

  • Skiable area: 40 acres (0.16 km2)
  • Runs: 10 total
    • 35% beginner
    • 55% intermediate
    • 10% advanced
  • Longest run: 4,200 feet (1,300 m)
  • Annual snowfall: 50 inches (1.3 m)

Resort capacity[edit]

  • Lift system: 3 lifts total
  • Uphill lift capacity: 1,143 skiers/hour
  • Snowmaking: 100% of trails

Ice skating rink[edit]

The resort originally featured an Olympic sized skating rink that closed when the Zamboni became unusable. In 2008, the Homestead built a new 30 X 20 foot ice skating rink in time for the 2008-2009 winter season. In 2013, the ice rink was relocated to Allegheny Springs, adjacent to the outdoor pool.

March 2009 shooting[edit]

On March 21, 2009 two resort employees were shot and killed in the hotel kitchen;[14] the community of Hot Springs was briefly locked down under code red procedures as a security precaution.[15] Authorities identified fellow employee Beacher Hackney as a suspect in the killings.[16] The slayings were the first homicides in Bath County since 1983.[17] On September 2, 2012, Hackney's remains, clothing, some personal possessions, and pistol were found near the Homestead's Lower Cascades golf course.[18] The cause of death has not been determined.[19]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  2. ^ "Virginia Landmarks Register". Virginia Department of Historic Resources. Retrieved May 12, 2013.
  3. ^ "Homestead, The". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Archived from the original on December 31, 2007. Retrieved June 26, 2008.
  4. ^ "Hotels in Hot Springs, Virginia | The Omni Homestead Resort | Historic Hotels of America". Historichotels.org. Retrieved May 13, 2014.
  5. ^ D.K. Goodwin, The Bully Pulpit, pp. 547-548, 558
  6. ^ "The Homestead: A Great Hotel Entertains Jap Diplomats as a Patriotic Duty," Life Magazine, 1942-02-16, at p. 68.
  7. ^ "World War II Detention of Diplomats & Families". Montreat History Spotlight. Presbyterian Heritage Center at Montreat. 2010. Retrieved July 10, 2012.
  8. ^ Stewart, William H. (2012). "Diplomats, Disputes & Deceit World War II's First Exchange of Enemy Diplomats". Saipan Stewart. NCC Consulting. Retrieved July 10, 2012.
  9. ^ United Nations Conference on Food and Agriculture: Hot Springs, Virginia, May 18-June 3, 1943 : final act and section reports..
  10. ^ "The founding of FAO"..
  11. ^ facebook (June 12, 2013). "The Homestead acquired by Texas-based Omni Hotels - Richmond Times-Dispatch: Business & Economic News". Timesdispatch.com. Retrieved May 13, 2014.
  12. ^ [1] Archived December 18, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ Phillips, John (2001). Ski and Snowboard America - Mid-Atlantic: The Complete Guide to Downhill Skiing, Snowboarding, Cross Country Skiing, Snow Tubing, and More Throughout the Mid-Atlantic Region. Guilford, Connecticut: Globe Pequot Press. p. 178. ISBN 978-0-7627-0845-1.
  14. ^ "2 Workers Shot to Death at a Virginia Resort". The New York Times. March 22, 2009. Retrieved March 23, 2009.
  15. ^ "News Release" (PDF). Bath Co. Sheriff's Office. March 21, 2009. Retrieved March 23, 2009.
  16. ^ "Search continues for Bath County shooter". www.wdbj7.com. March 23, 2009. Retrieved March 23, 2009.
  17. ^ Kunkle, Frederick (March 23, 2009). "Man Sought in Slayings of Homestead Resort Supervisors in Bath County, Virginia". The Washington Post. p. B01. Retrieved March 23, 2009.
  18. ^ Oxendine, Margo (September 20, 2012). "3-year-old murder case closed". The Recorder. Retrieved August 7, 2013.
  19. ^ Kaplan, David (September 18, 2012). "Cause of Beacher Hackney's death may never be determined". WDBJ7. Retrieved August 7, 2013.

External links[edit]