Fire consumes abandoned Catskills hotel that inspired Dirty Dancing

Fire consumes abandoned Catskills hotel that inspired Dirty Dancing

A wildfire engulfed a building in New York’s historic Grossinger Resort Tuesday night, marking a new low for the abandoned hotel that inspired the 1987 film Dirty Dancing and was home to celebrities.

The fire devastated a three-story building on the resort’s grounds in Liberty, New York, forcing firefighters to trudge through overgrowth and concrete barriers, who then demolished the building with an excavator after dousing the blaze.

It took six hours to put out the fire and authorities are currently investigating the cause of the fire, according to a Facebook post from the Liberty Fire Department.

Grossinger’s resort town was the jewel of a vibrant post-WWII holiday scene, where thousands of Jewish families flocked to the verdant Catskill Mountains in the summer, earning the area the nickname “The Borscht Belt”.

A fire engulfs a building at the abandoned Grossinger’s Resort, which served as the inspiration for the resort starred in the 1987 hit film Dirty Dancing.

It took six hours to put out the fire as authorities slogged through thick brush and bypassed concrete barriers to get to the building

It took six hours to put out the fire as authorities slogged through thick brush and bypassed concrete barriers to get to the building

The resort fell into disrepair in the 1980s as anti-Semitism in America eased and Jewish families were able to use air travel to fly to better-known resorts

The resort fell into disrepair in the 1980s as anti-Semitism in America eased and Jewish families were able to use air travel to fly to better-known resorts

It once featured an indoor and outdoor pool, as well as many other amenities, including a lively nightclub

It once featured an indoor and outdoor pool, as well as many other amenities, including a lively nightclub

The borscht belt served as an undisturbed retreat for Jews living in America, who were often undesirable in more established getaways and hotels.

Grossinger’s was the main inspiration behind the fictional Kellerman’s Resort in the hit 1987 film Dirty Dancing, when screenwriter Eleanor Bergstein recalled visiting Grossinger’s as a child and finding her love for dancing there.

“My parents went to the golf course and I just went to the dance studio as a little girl,” Bergstein said in 2021 at the Center for Jewish History.

The bustling resort town declined in popularity in the second half of the 20th century as anti-Semitism eased and Jewish families were accepted in other resorts and destinations.

Found in the rural town of Liberty, New York, the sprawling resort draws hundreds of thousands of visitors each year

Found in the rural town of Liberty, New York, the sprawling resort draws hundreds of thousands of visitors each year

Vacationers sit by the pool at Grossingers Resort, a popular summer destination for Jewish families in New York City, in 1977

Vacationers sit by the pool at Grossingers Resort, a popular summer destination for Jewish families in New York City, in 1977

Famous singer Eddie Fisher was spotted at the hotel and brought his first wife, actress Debbie Reynolds, to the resort to celebrate their wedding

Famous singer Eddie Fisher was spotted at the hotel and brought his first wife, actress Debbie Reynolds, to the resort to celebrate their wedding

Grossingers inspired the fictional Kellerman's Resort where Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Gray dance in the hit 1987 film Dirty Dancing

Grossingers inspired the fictional Kellerman’s Resort where Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Gray dance in the hit 1987 film Dirty Dancing

Grossinger’s fell into disrepair in the 1980s and was never revived, but the popular resort town was once much grander.

The resort, owned by Austrian couple Harry and Jennie Grossinger, featured a 27-hole golf course, a 1,500-seat dining room, indoor and outdoor pools, a nightclub and even an airstrip.

The resort has also played host to a host of celebrities, including Rocky Marciano, the 1950s heavyweight boxer who trained at the resort’s gyms.

Famous singer Eddie Fisher, spotted at the hotel, married his first wife, legendary entertainer Debbie Reynolds, at the resort on September 26, 1955, and also brought his second wife, legendary film star Elizabeth Taylor to visit.

Fisher later shocked the newspapers when it emerged that he was cheating on Reynolds with Taylor, who said she was “devastated” by the affair and “the last to know.”

The resort was owned by Austrian couple Harry and Jennie Grossinger, with Jennie acting as the hotel's hostess

The resort was owned by Austrian couple Harry and Jennie Grossinger, with Jennie acting as the hotel’s hostess

Grossinger's was known for being the first resort to use artificial snow for skiers in 1952, and visitors enjoyed the many pools the property had to offer

Grossinger’s was known for being the first resort to use artificial snow for skiers in 1952, and visitors enjoyed the many pools the property had to offer

The hotel started out as a small guesthouse in the 1900s with no plumbing or electricity

The hotel started out as a small guesthouse in the 1900s with no plumbing or electricity

Grossinger’s was famous for being the first resort to use artificial snow for skiers in 1952, and its golf course remains open to this day.

Hotels International bought the resort in 1985 but couldn’t turn it around when faced with declining visitor numbers who had given up the 100-mile trip from New York City to the Catskills in favor of air travel, which had become more affordable.

The hotel started out as a small guesthouse in the 1900s with no plumbing or electricity, reports AbandonedNYC.com.

Austrian immigrants Asher Selig Grossinger and his wife Malke relocated to the Catskills from New York City, and Malke’s incredible kosher cuisine and famed hospitality meant they soon had to expand.

In 1919 they bought a larger home – Grossinger’s Terrace Hill House – within 100 acres.

The Grossingers’ daughter, Jennie, was the hostess of the resort and by the time of her death in 1972 she had transformed it into 35 buildings that attracted 150,000 guests annually.