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The hotel that inspired ‘Dirty Dancing’ has burned down

(CNN) — Somebody put Baby in a corner: the remains of an upstate New York hotel that inspired the movie “Dirty Dancing” have burned down, according to the local fire department. The property, which was called Grossinger’s Catskill Resort Hotel, closed its doors in 1986.

An August 17 notice posted on the Facebook page for the Liberty, New York fire department reads, “multiple calls into Sullivan (County) 911 reported a large structure on fire at the old Grossinger’s Hotel property.”

The post continued to say that firefighters had trouble reaching the source of the blaze because the area was overgrown, and once the fire was put out “an excavator was brought into the scene to knock down the structure.”

Most of the resort was demolished in 2018, although a few structures remained.

“Dirty Dancing,” features Jennifer Grey as Baby Houseman, a Jewish teenager who falls in love with a hotel dance instructor played by Patrick Swayze.

Artisan Entertainment/Courtesy Everett Collection

Grossinger’s, which opened in 1919 under the name Grossinger’s Terrace Hill House, was a kosher establishment that catered to a mostly Jewish clientele from the New York City area.

This region of the Catskills became known as the Borscht Belt. During a period when many Jewish families were barred from country clubs and summer camps, the string of resorts in the area became a place where the Jewish community could vacation.

Comedians like Jackie Mason, Woody Allen, Don Rickles and Milton Berle cut their teeth performing at venues in the Borscht Belt.

“Dirty Dancing,” the hit film released the year after Grossinger’s closed, starred Jennifer Grey as Baby Houseman, a Jewish teenage girl on the cusp of adulthood who falls in love with a hotel dance instructor played by Patrick Swayze.
Although it was Grossinger’s that inspired the story, Dirty Dancing was filmed elsewhere — at Mountain Lake Lodge in Pembroke, Virginia.
She also wrote a children’s book, “Jackie and Me,” about her real-life friendship with baseball player Jackie Robinson, a regular visitor at the resort.

The Liberty Fire Department is still investigating the cause of the fire.

Top image: This 1976 photo shows Grossinger’s in better times. Credit: Universal History Archive/Getty Images

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