YESTERDAY AND TODAY — RONCEVERTE ON TOUR

Lumber and the railroad fueled the development and growth of the Town of Ronceverte and the determination of its current citizens is fueling its rebirth.  Visitors are offered the opportunity to visit several historical sites during the Greenbrier Historical Society’s Lemonade and Lavender Tour to be held on Sunday, June 9, 2013 from 1 to 4:00 p.m.  Tickets for this tour as well as the traditional homes tour on Saturday, June 8 and the Gala at the Jarrett House on Friday, June 7 are available at the Greenbrier Historical Society’s North House, located at 301 West Washington Street in Lewisburg, the Greenbrier Convention and Visitors Bureau, located at 200 West Washington Street in Lewisburg.  Tickets for the Ronceverte tour will also be available at Edgarton Inn on the day of that tour.

IMG_5388  Thomas Edgar, the founder of Ronceverte, started building what has become known as “Edgarton” in 1810.  Col. Cecil Clay, who was instrumental in the incorporation of the Town of Ronceverte, lived there and Col. Best, superintendent of the St. Lawrence Boom and Lumber Company, added the Victorian embellishments circa 1885.  An excellent example of the Queen Anne style, it is now a Bed and Breakfast owned by Cathy King.  She will host visitors for lemonade and cookies as well as a tour of this interesting house.

The citizens of Ronceverte first gathered in outdoor public spaces such as the lumberyard for Sunday worship services.  On July 3, 1881, the Ronceverte Presbyterian Church formally organized under the leadership of Dr. M.L. Lacy (pastor of the Old Stone Presbyterian Church) on Monroe Avenue in Ronceverte.  Presbyterians, Episcopalians, and Baptists worshipped together in the church until 1882, when the Presbyterians purchased the interests of the other denominations.

In 1923, the congregation moved to its new building (and current location) on the corner of Locust Street and Greenbrier Avenue.   Major additions to the property include a pipe organ purchased by the congregation in 1950 from The Greenbrier Resort, a manse next door completed to house the minister’s family in 1958, and a Tiffany stained glass window behind the pulpit installed shortly after construction (additional stained glass windows were moved to this location from the original church building).

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The Methodist heritage of the Trinity United Methodist Church goes back to at least 1784 when Methodism was first organized in the Greenbrier Valley at Rehoboth, near Union in Monroe County.  The Greenbrier Circuit of the Methodist Episcopal Church was established in 1787.  Split by the issue of slave-holding, the Methodist Episcopal Church was divided between north and south.    In 1939, Methodist union was accomplished when the Methodist Episcopal Church, the Methodist Protestant Church, and the Methodist Episcopal Church South united to form the Methodist Church.  In 1941, the West Main Street Methodist Church also merged with Trinity.

The building which Trinity now occupies was built by the Methodist Episcopal Church, South,  beginning in 1921 and was first occupied on September 17, 1922.  The new pastor, Rev. George Hazel reported on the new church saying, “It’s a compliment (sic) to our people and an ornament to the town.”

The Episcopal Church of the Incarnation was built in the tradition of mid-Nineteenth Century Episcopal Churches popularized by American architect Richard Upjohn.  This church features board and batten siding, Gothic-inspired bargeboard trim, and lancet arched windows.  The church dates from 1882, making it one of the earliest church buildings in Ronceverte.  In 1937, it was moved from Edgar Avenue to its present location.

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The Town of Ronceverte is undergoing a re-birth.  Nowhere is this more evident than the restored businesses located on a small section of street known as Frankford Road.  Greenbrier Cut Flowers and Gifts occupies one of the three buildings.  It was originally a pharmacy and its  restoration included saving the original tile floor and stained glass windows.  Hersman’s Safety Products occupies the next storefront, which once housed the First National Bank, and an ice cream shop is planned for the third.  Walking around the streets of Ronceverte is a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

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