In 1968, Pittsburgh industrialist, Willard F. Rockwell (Rockwell International) established a private game reserve in the Laurel Highlands on what is now Nemacolin Woodlands Resort. This property was named Nemacolin Trails Hunting Reserve. The Rockwell’s invited friends and business associates to hunt and fish the 400-acre reserve, populated by silver foxes, bear and white-tailed deer. A hunting lodge was constructed in 1968, together with the golf course and airstrip. Lakes Louise and Carol were also added, and Beaver Creek was developed into the excellent trout stream it is today.
The property was sold in 1979 to Cordelia Mellon Scaife and became an exclusive conference center. Three years later, the property returned to the Rockwell Family. Kent Rockwell, Willard’s son, purchased the conference center and opened it to the public. In the years immediately following, the Maples Townhouses and a number of private homes were established on the estate.
In 1987, Joseph A. Hardy, III, founder of the 84 Lumber Company, purchased a large portion of the Nemacolin property at auction, an auction he attended in the hopes of purchasing just a few acres of woodlands near a lake or stream for his daughter, Maggie, who loved fishing.
As Hardy recounts, “I left the auction without that piece of property for fishing because I bought the main parcel and was out of money.” Hardy and his daughter, Maggie, promptly set about transforming the property into its present state – a 2,000 acre world-class resort, rated Four-Stars by the prestigious Forbes Travel Guide and Four-Diamonds by the American Automobile Association (AAA). In 2002, Hardy transferred full ownership of the resort to his daughter, Maggie Hardy Magerko, who still serves as President and Owner.
The Nemacolin Woodlands Resort timeline:
1987 (year of Hardy ownership) – The Tudor-style Lodge was expanded, and work on an elegant annex of 68 rooms commenced together with the Executive Conference Center and new lobbies. The Woodlands Golf Academy was established.
1988 – The Woodlands Spa opened. Soon afterward, the Gazebo, Lake P.J., and the Panorama Pavilion were constructed.
1989 – The Lodge Annex was followed by the Townhouses on the Links.
1991 – The Grand Ballroom was added to the Executive Conference Center.
1992 – The Tavern, the CaddyShack, Equestrian Center and Fallingbrook miniature golf course opened.
1995 – Mystic Rock Golf Course, Paradise Pool, Kidz Club, Heritage Court Shoppes and Mystic Mountain opened.
1997 – The elegant Chateau Lafayette hotel including the Cigar Bar, Hardy & Hayes Jewelers, the Marquis Ballroom and Lautrec opened.
1998 – Major renovation and expansion of the Woodlands Spa.
1999 – The Shooting Academy opened.
2000 – The Auto Toy Store opened, featuring a number of rare and collectible automobiles.
2001 – The Air Hanger opened featuring airworthy vintage aircraft.
2002 – Woodlands World Outdoor Store and the Off-Road Driving Academy opened.
2003 – The John Daly Learning Center opened on the Links golf course and the PGA Tour 84 Lumber Classic came to the Mystic Rock Golf Course.
2004 – Falling Rock and Aqueous Restaurant opened and the Off-Road Driving Academy was expanded. Mystic Rock Golf Course undergoes extensive renovations.
2005 – The Woodlands Spa was expanded, adding 12 treatment rooms, a squash court and relocated fitness center. Horizon Point meeting facility opened. Nemacolin ventures into downtown Uniontown with the opening of downtown stores.
2006 – Woodlands World Outdoor Store moved to downtown Uniontown. Wildlife habitats were built, bringing black bear, elk, emus, Patagonian Cayvees, Australian wallabies and zebra to the resort. Dogsledding was added as a winter adventure offering. The Golden Trout restaurant was closed and reopened after a total interior and menu renovation, as Autumn. The Conference Center is improved with the addition of the Nemacolin Business Center.
2007 – Marked the 20th Anniversary of Nemacolin Woodlands Resort. The Canoe Museum opened. The Equestrian Center became the new Wildlife Academy. Buffalo joined the mix of Nemacolin’s wildlife habitats. The Académie du Vin and Chateau Signature opened in the former Nemacolin Art Gallery. ThemeWorks was developed. Falling Rock Hotel was awarded the coveted AAA Five Diamond Award.
2008 - Nemacolin's fine-dining restaurant, Lautrec, became one of only 50 restaurants in the United States to earn the prestigious AAA Five Diamond Award, making Nemacolin one of only 21 resorts world-wide to offer Five Diamond lodging at Falling Rock and dining at Lautrec. Falling Rock Hotel retains the Five Diamond status for the second year. The WildSide, an entertainment emporium, opened in the former Woodlands World Complex.
2009 - Lautrec retains the AAA Five Diamond Award and acquires the Forbes Five Star Award, and becoming one of only 14 restaurants in the country to have both ratings. Falling Rock Hotel retains the AAA Five Diamond status for the third year. Nemacolin Woodlands Resort becomes the first resort to be designated a PET PROUD® facility, partnering to open Nemacolin Wooflands Pet Resort & Spa. In May 2009, Nemacolin welcomed the opening of Spa Voyage, a Kidz Spa that accommodates children ages 5 - 15 with age appropriate services and the Nemacolin Race Zone, an RC race track located within The WildSide. The Off Road Driving Academy is renamed the TOMCAR Tactical Training Center and TOMCARS become the focus. Disc Golf is added as a new Adventure Center amenity. The Woodlands Animal Care Center, a primary animal care hospital complete with rehabilitative facilities opened. Nemacolin joins the Social Networking world and establishes a presence on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
2010 - A Petting Zoo was added to the Wildlife Habitats and featured Camels, Llamas and sheep. The Fatbird Flyer and Little Tykes Ropes Course opened at the Adventure Center. The Off-Road Driving Academy is reopened to feature JEEP® Rubicons. The CaddyShack Restaurant is reopened as a Barbeque Joint featuring a Smoke House and Rotisserie. Nemacolin partners with Ohiopyle State Park to offer adventure activities available within the park including White Water Rafting, Natural Rock Climbing and more. The Prince of Nemacolin is born, a rare white lion, whose parents, Dandy and Stewy, reside in our Wildlife Habitats. Nemacolin's Falling Rock boutique hotel is honored with the prestigious Forbes Travel Guide Fifth Star. Lautrec retains the Forbes Fifth Star, making Nemacolin one of only 6 resorts in the world to offer both Forbes Five-Star and AAA Five-Diamond lodging and dining.
2011 - In April 2011, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board honored Nemacolin as the selected location for the final Category 3 Gaming License. Learn More. Flat Screen TV’s were added to all rooms and the Links Townhomes received upgrades with new linens, living room couches, windows and doors. The Nemacolin Conference Center also received many renovations. The Marquis Ballroom and Foyer received new carpeting as did many connecting hallways throughout the main facility. The Club Room, Nemacolin and Seqouis rooms will be completely remodeled by the end of the year. Our Banquets team received enhancements this season with new uniforms, banquet tables, place settings and food displays. In summer 2011, a fire-pit and outdoor recreation site was constructed in front of the Lodge. The Wildlife Academy added a NEW Check-In Station and Arena for our Saturday Wild Animal Shows. The NEW Station is located near the Adventure Center and Off-Road Driving Academy. The Fatbird Canopy Tour was opened. Situated 40' in the air, this high altitude jungle gym consists of swinging tires, cargo nets, log crossings, zip-lines and much more! Additionally, the Little Tykes Ropes Course received construction with the addition of obstacle features, the Nemacolin Fatbird Express Train, a guided tour of the resort's animal enclosures and habitats was added to our Wildlife Academy amenities, the Hardy Girls Gym, a 8,400' Olympic caliber facility reopened for weekend and rainy day usage and the Adventure Shop opened at the Adventure Center featuring Quicksilver Girl, Mammut, Spyder, Mountain Hardware, Merrell, and Jeep Official Merchandise. Dining wise, Sunset Terrace located at Falling Rock, opened for the 2011 season as a fine dining option featuring Pan Asian Cuisine and Autumn Restaurant rebranded itself as a "Going Green" restaurant and became a green destination by GRA! Green Restaurant Association.
2012 - The Sundial Ski Lodge was destroyed by fire on February 12, 2012. Fallingbrook Mini Golf Course underwent renovations. Downhill Mountain Biking, Scenic Chairlift Rides and Paddle Boats are added as an amenity at the Adventure Center. The Wildlife Academy welcomed new animals and Habitats were added. The Panoramic Pavilion underwent renovations and now offers a new event space for Weddings and Private Parties. In July 2012, construction began on the new Sundial Lodge. Plans include a Restaurant and Bar, Outdoor Terraces, Retail Shop, Rental Shop and more. The WildSide closed on October 7, 2012 as construction began on the Lady Luck Nemacolin Casino, operated and managed by Isle of Capri Casinos Inc. Much of "The WildSide" concept has been relocated to the new Sundial Lodge which is set to open December 24, 2012.