Item of the Week – Omnibus

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Item of the Week – September 20, 2013

We are going outside our own collection this week to highlight an item owned by the Monroe County Historical Society – a neighbor museum. This Omnibus, circa 1880, was used to transport visitors to the Sweet Chalybeate Spring Resort and Sweet Springs Resort in Monroe County, West Virginia.

The Monroe County Historical Society has begun the construction of a home for their carriage collection in Union.  The idea was inspired by the Wagon House adjacent to North House in Lewisburg, though it will be somewhat larger at 1000 square feet so as to accommodate five horse-drawn vehicles.   The style is Gothic Revival with lots of large windows to permit viewing at all hours.  The site, to the rear of the Monroe County Historical Society museum on Main Street, has been leveled and the concrete floor has been poured.  The substructure is a traditional timber-frame which is being built by Chip Sills of Earthwind Construction in Greenville.

The “flagship” of this museum will be an 1880’s vintage Omnibus (pictured) which was originally used to bring visitors from the Alleghany Station to the resort spas of Sweet Chalybeate and Sweet Springs.  It is unique in being in original condition, with fancy paint-work including scrolls, country scenes and pin striping.  Also MCHS has two mid-sized carriages and a sleigh from the Walnut Grove Estate outside Union and these were donated by the late Nancy White.  Finally, they have just received the gift of a Doctor’s Buggy.

MCHS has already raised $40,000 for this project but their goal is to seek $25,000 more which will cover some carriage restoration work as well as building costs and maintenance.  They are offering an engraved tile for the portico for a donation of $100.  The concept is the based on the patio at Carnegie Hall, so three lines with thirteen characters each can be included on each tile.  If you are interested in supporting the efforts of the Monroe County Historical Society efforts, please send a check to the M.C.H.S. at PO Box 465, Union, WV 24983.  Thank you very much!

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GHS Receives Virginia Meadows Collection

R-L: GHS Director Beth McMullen, George Collins, Mrs. Virginia Meadows, GHS Archivist Jim Talbert

The Greenbrier Historical Society was very excited to receive a wonderful collection of photographs this past spring from Mrs. Virginia Meadows and the Rainelle Ranger Alumni Committee. This collection, a much appreciated addition to the Greenbrier Historical Society’s Archives and Library, includes photographs of the Rainelle High School,  the Meadow River Lumber Company, and the Town of Rainelle.

A native of Greenbrier County, Mrs. Meadows taught Math and Physical Education and was the advisor to the Hi-Y, Cheerleading, and Intramural programs at Rainelle High School beginning in 1961.  In 1992, the Rainelle Ranger Alumni Committee organized the first all-school reunion of Rainelle High School. Mrs. Meadows was very involved with the Alumni Committee, actively collecting and copying photographs and memorabilia for commemorative booklets and displays. It is through her hard work and generosity that the collection has been donated to us.

George “Tink” Collins (Rainelle Class of 1964) was instrumental in organizing the collection and labeling all of the photographs before they were given to GHS. Mr. Collins is currently the Director of Museum Studies at Tusculum College in Greeneville, Tennessee.

To view the Virginia Meadow’s Collection, visit the Greenbrier Historical Society’s Archives and Library, located at 301 West Washington Street in Lewisburg, WV. GHS is open to the public free of charge, Monday through Saturday from 10am to 4pm or by appointment. For more information, contact us at 304.645.3398 or archives@greenbrierhistorical.org.

AmeriCorps Member Megan Ramsey Says Goodbye

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For the past two years, I have called Lewisburg home.  But all great things must come to an end.  Friday August 23rd marks my final day as an AmeriCorps member with the Greenbrier Historical Society.  I have been honored to work with a wonderful staff, passionate board members, and a dedicated group of volunteers.  I have discovered a new love of history and developed a real passion for museums.  I have greatly enjoyed working with the GHS collections, with my major project to inventory all the items on display in the museum and the boxed items housed in the collections storage room.  It has taken me months, but I enjoyed every minute of identifying the objects, researching their history, and understanding their importance in the Greenbrier Valley.

Living in Lewisburg and the Greenbrier Valley for over two years has been such a privilege.  I can’t think of another place as naturally beautiful or as rich with history.  I look forward to returning to Lewisburg in the future and knowing that I’ve been a part of a wonderful organization that strives to preserve and promote the history of such a remarkable place.

 

June & July 2013 Memberships

The Greenbrier Historical Society would like to thank those who renewed their memberships or became first time members in June & July 2013.

  • Billie Jane Lynch
  • Blaine McClung Dillon
  • Tommy & Rody Johnson
  • Netta Card
  • Robert & Roberta Koontz
  • Frederick & Elizabeth Hippert
  • Denise Bunker
  • Nancy Colucci
  • Margaret Engelhardt
  • Sara Lueck
  • Mary Jo & Chris Thompson
  • Paul & Mary Lindquist
  • Randy & Catherine Crist
  • Orlie K. Wolfenbarger III
  • Jeffrey Brown
  • Greg Clendenin
  • James & Julie Johnson
  • James Webb
  • Kendall Wilson, Jr
  • Susan & Francis Degges
  • Helen J. McClung
  • Nancy Richmond
  • Charity Marie Richmond

For more information on membership, contact the Greenbrier Historical Society at 304.645.3398 or info@greenbrierhistorical.org. The Greenbrier Historical Society and North House Museum, located at 301 West Washington Street in Lewisburg, WV, are open free to the public Monday – Saturday from 10am to 4pm.

Boy Scouts’ Hardwork at the North House

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IMG_0069On Friday July 19, 2013, the Greenbrier Historical Society was pleased to welcome a group of 40 Ohio boy scouts to the North House. They were part of the National Boy Scout Jamboree taking place this month in Fayette county and were taking part in the hundreds of service projects spread throughout nine counties in southern West Virginia.

IMG_0076The troops at the North House spent a long, hot, and humid day outdoors – building two picnic tables and two benches, weeding and mulching the flower beds, and removing an unsightly bush and rotting tree stump from the North House lawn. Never complaining, the scouts eagerly moved from one project to the next – only taking a break to eat lunch and enjoy a guided tour of the (air conditioned) North House.IMG_0082

After all of their hard work, the scouts enjoyed an ice cream cone at The Market in Lewisburg before boarding the bus to go back to camp. The Greenbrier Historical Society would like to extend a big thank you to the boy scouts and our volunteers Max Gibson, Truman Shrewsberry, and Margaret Hambrick as well as our AmeriCorps members Megan Ramsey and Kyle Mills for all of their hard work!

Fort McCoy Project in Williamsburg Underway

 By Dr. Kim A. McBride

When is a barn much more than a barn – when it has a two story log house/fort inside, such as with McCoy’s Fort in Williamsburg.  According to McCoy Family tradition, the William McCoy house house/fort was built in 1769, making it one of the oldest standing structures in Greenbrier County.   It is the only standing log fort we know from the region, and as such, an incredible historic resource. Frontier forts were crucial to the continued occupation of West Virginia during Lord Dunmore’s War and the American Revolution. Without them many settlers would likely have abandoned the region for safer lands to the east.

McCoy’s Fort was briefly attacked following the Battle of Fort Donnally in May 1778, but local militia repulsed this attack. Sometime after the Indian Wars the McCoy family built a larger house nearby and the old log house/fort was transformed into an outbuilding and eventually enclosed in a frame barn. This barn helped the fort to survive for nearly a century and a half, but weakened by a tornado circa 2006 and the windstorm of June 2012, the outer barn is collapsing.

The Williamsburg District Historic Foundation, with support from the Daniel K. Thorne
Intervention Fund of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Summers County Historic Landmarks Commission, the Greenbrier Historical Society, Preservation Alliance of WV, and the WV Humanities Council, is undertaking research and restoration of this important piece of history.  Efforts are underway to dismantle the outer barn and the inner log structure.  The latter will be restored, and reassembled on-site.  But first, as soon as the structures are removed, archaeological studies will be conducted to provide information on the early structure of the fort site.

On July 17, 18, 19, 22 and 23, 2013, scouts from the Reaching the Summit Community Service Initiative of the National Scout Jamboree will come to McCoy’s Fort to conduct archaeology, led by Drs. W. Stephen and Kim Arbogast McBride.  Support and volunteers are always needed, even with with future archaeology.  Anyone interested in helping please contact Dr. Kim Arbogast McBride at kim.mcbride@uky.edu, or (859) 233-4690. Those interested in helping with other aspects of the project can contact Carolyn Stephens at cbstephens23@aol.com.  Interested members can also follow the project via updates in Appalachian Spring, or digitally on the Greenbrier Historical Society’s Facebook page or Blog at greenbrierhistorical.wordpress.com.

Book Signing at North House

Author and genealogist Greg Clendenin will be signing and selling his historical non-fiction novel “The Clendenin Massacre” at the Greenbrier Historical Society’s North House on Saturday July 13th from 11am to 3pm. The Clendenin family played a role in settling the Greenbrier and Kanawha valleys in the 18th century. On July 15, 1763, Archibald Clendenin Jr. was killed by Shawnee Chief Cornstalk, as were two of the Clendenin children. Others, including Ann Clendenin, were taken captive.

The author, a native of Charleston, is a descendent of Archibald Clendenin Sr. and the six-time great-grandson of Charles Clendenin, for whom the capital of West Virginia is named.