The Liberty Fire Department Facebook
A major fire burned down the remaining pieces of the Grossinger’s Hotel property, a former vacationing spot in the Catskills and inspiration for the 1987 hit film Dirty Dancing.
The Liberty Fire Department was dispatched to calls of a fire on the old property on Tuesday night. They arrived to find a large, three-and-a-half story building fully engulfed in flames. The blaze was so large that the smoke column could be seen for several miles away, according to the department.
In recent years, the property had become largely overgrown and abandoned. This impeded the responder’s ability to get to the site of the fire. Firefighters had to cut through a gate in order to access the roadway to the building. Concrete barriers in the road further blocked firefighters’ easy access to the scene, the fire department said.
Once the fire was out, an excavator was brought in to knock down the remaining pieces of the building, officially ridding the Catskills of what remained of the Grossinger Hotel.
The fire is still under investigation, according to the Liberty Fire Department.
Grossinger’s heyday was after World War II, according to the Associated Press. Hundreds of thousands of vacationers made their way to the Catskills to visit the spot. One such visitor was Eleanor Bergstein, writer and producer of Dirty Dancing, who vacationed there with her family.
The film tells the romantic story of a young woman (played by Jennifer Grey), named Francis “Baby” Houseman, who falls in love with a dance instructor named Johnny Castle (Patrick Swayze), while on vacation in 1963 at a resort just like Grossinger.
Before it finally closed in 1986, the hotel encompassed a complex of 35 buildings on 1,200 acres that served 150,000 guests a year at its height.
Although the movie is based on this resort, the filming took place in North Carolina and Virginia.