Tell Us What You Thought – 150 Years of Stereotypes

Glenn Taylor

Glenn Taylor

David Corbin

David Corbin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Greenbrier Historical Society and Greenbrier Valley Theatre would just like to thank everyone who attended our sesquicentennial event “150 Years of Stereotypes: Exploring West Virginia in Literature and History!” We were fortunate to have two authors – Glenn Taylor and David Corbin – join us for what we thought was a good evening.

As always, we would love to hear what you thought of the event! Please take a short survey to help us better plan future programs and events or respond directly to this post: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/MHRNKV7

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Birthplace of Rivers National Monument

In the spirit of preserving 150 years of natural beauty and cultural identity, we are sharing the following Call to Action from the Birth Place of Rivers National Monument initiative.
Birth Place of Rivers
“Covered from end to end, and on all sides, by the ancient Appalachian Mountains, West Virginia is exquisite in its natural splendor. It is the most southern of the northern; the most northern of the southern; the most eastern of the western; and the most western of the eastern States. It is where the east says “good morning” to the west, and where Yankee Doodle and Dixie kiss each other goodnight.” – Senator Robert C. Byrd

         Take action to help create West Virginia’s only national monument!
The Birthplace of Rivers National Monument would forever preserve a recreationally, ecologically and culturally significant landscape in the southern Monongahela National Forest, known to many West Virginians as the “Mon”.  The proposed national monument would protect special features such as the Cranberry Backcountry, Tea Creek, Falls of Hills Creek, Cranberry Glades and critical headwaters of six trout-rich rivers.  This area means so much to local communities and the Mountain State as a whole, but without a more permanent protective status, the Mon’s natural treasures are not guaranteed to remain as Wild and Wonderful as they are today.  Unless protected by law, future management of certain public lands could change in favor of increased industrial development, forever altering the way West Virginians and our visitors enjoy the southern Mon.

As we celebrate 150 years of statehood, West Virginia’s congressional leaders have an opportunity to set aside some of the most special wild places in the southern Mon for future generations, honoring a rich mountain culture deeply connected to the land.  The proposed Birthplace of Rivers National Monument is a balanced approach to protecting and restoring wild forests and coldwater streams, preserving our heritage and providing for a more sustainable economic future.  This West Virginia Day, sportsmen, mountain bikers, business owners, conservationists, religious groups and local community leaders are coming together to ensure the exploration and enjoyment of this Wild and Wonderful land for many generations to come.

Let’s make the Birthplace of Rivers National Monument a reality!

Take Action!
Tell Senators Manchin and Rockefeller to honor the Mountain State by supporting the Birthplace of Rivers National Monument!   Let our Senate leaders know why protecting the southern Monongahela National Forest is important to you.

Senator Jay Rockefeller
(202) 224-6472
Email

Senator Joe Manchin
202-224-3954
Email

Birthplace of Rivers National Monument – Our Heritage, Our Future
Get involved, learn more, connect with the citizen campaign:  www.birthplaceofrivers.org

Thank You for Everyone’s Participation in Lemonade and Lavender

 

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The Greenbrier Historical Society would like to thank everyone who assisted with our Lemonade and Lavender weekend, especially Page Dickson, James Jeter, Margaret & David Hambrick, Herbert & Katy Montgomery, and the owners of the Cedars who opened their homes to us and made us feel welcome! The homeowners, docents, volunteers, board of directors, and staff members all made this day possible by donating their time and energy to prepare the sites and ensure that everything photo18would run as smoothly as possible.

IMG_4170We would like to say a special thank you to Barbara and Frank Tuckwiller from Watts Roost Vineyard, Lynne and Raymond Tuckwiller who provided the beautiful carriages, Reeds Old Mill for welcoming our visitors, Cathy King and the Edgarton Inn, Trinity United Methodist Church, the Church of the Incarnation, and the Ronceverte Presbyterian Church.

GHS would also like to thank everyone who participated in the events on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday! We will soon begin planning our 2015 tour and would love your feedback! Please complete this anonymous survey or share your comments and suggestions here!

Survey:http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/C2Y89QM

Click to See More Photos from Friday
Click to See More Photos from Saturday
Click to See More Photos from Sunday

May 2013 Memberships

Once again, we would just like to recognize those who became new members or renewed their memberships during May 2013! The Greenbrier Historical Society relies on the generous donations and memberships to continue to offer free and low cost tours, research assistance, and programming. Thank you for all of your support!

  • Ruth Murphy
  • Elizabeth Higginbotham
  • Virginia Meadows
  • Ronald Magruder
  • Gloria Selby
  • Mary Belle Stephens

Archaeology at the North House

Wagon House

On Thursday, May 30th, the Greenbrier Historical Society will host an archaeological team from the West Virginia Division of Highways. The team, comprised of Archaeologist Jen Williamson, Archaeologist Amanda Payne, Archaeologist Karen Reed, and Environmental Resource Specialist Karen Ebert Allen, will conduct testing as part of a Transportation Alternatives Grant to repair the Greenbrier Historical Society’s Wagon House in Lewisburg.  As part of the Wagon House project, the Greenbrier Historical Society is planning on installing a handicap accessible walkway from the North House to the Wagon House. The archaeological team will conduct a phase I archaeological survey on the areas where the proposed sidewalk will be constructed – including both shovel testing and metal detector work. This testing will ensure that the construction will not disturb any artifacts that may linger beneath the surface. The public is invited to stop by the North House, located at 301 West Washington Street in Lewisburg, throughout the day to watch the archaeological team. For more information, contact GHS at 304.645.3398 or info@greenbrierhistorical.org

GHS Thanks April Members

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

  • Janie Ashley
  • Ruth Jackson Bailey
  • William Davis
  • Anice Nolen
  • Allan & Carol Olson
  • Mrs. Theodore Woodward
  • Jo Ann Yates
  • William O.E. Humphreys
  • Lynda Ann Azalde
  • Bill Harrah
  • Alison J. Simpson
  • Alfred & Ann Walker
  • Peggy Humphreys
  • S.J. Neathawk Lumber Inc.
  • Frances O’Brien
  • John & Floy Boyle
  • Virginia B. Blake
  • Dorsey Wilson
  • Michael & Genette Hill
  • Mary Fullen
  • Julia McDade
  • Alice Hanson
  • Larry & Frances Mustain

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.

Rediscovered North House Well

Article By AmeriCorps member Kyle D. Mills

 A cold and cloudy October day found a small group of historians standing in a semi-circle, peering into a dark abyss. A combination of mystery, suspense, and uncertainty danced in the air with the falling autumn leaves. “I wonder what will be down there,” one person said, “you have done this before?” said another. Curious for the unknown, all stood in anticipation. “On rope!” one man said, then, descended into darkness.

This adventure started in September when I was looking at the old saltpeter trough we have stored in the Wagon House at the Greenbrier Historical Society and North House Museum. I stepped off the porch of the Wagon House and walked over the grate in the yard of the North House. It appeared to be a typical storm drain, but being a cave explorer, I am compelled to look into any hole in the ground I might come across. I looked into the drain and saw that there was moss growing on stacked stone walls, and I couldn’t see the bottom. I ran to my car, grabbed my caving lights, and shined them down the hole. I could see the bottom and realized what I was looking at was a well.

I came back into the archives and asked Mr. Jim Talbert what the history of the well out in the yard was. He looked at me strange and I could tell he was wondering what-in-the-world I was talking about. We out in the yard and shinned my light down the hole, we must have looked a little crazy to the NRCTC students who were standing around outside. Mr. Talbert became excited and informed me that no one knew that a well lied under the storm grate. Surely at one time someone with the Greenbrier Historical Society had to know that this was a well, but time passed and the well was forgotten about. Curiosity had gotten to us and plans were made to explore the well.Looking up from the bottom of the well.

The day finally came to explore the well. Using my vertical caving equipment, I rappelled into the well and discovered that the well is very well made. The bottom of the well is a six-foot-wide, six-foot-long, and five-foot-tall cistern blasted into the limestone bedrock. Evidence of the drilling and blasting process can be seen on the bedrock at the bottom of the well. Hand-hewn timbers have been constructed (similar to a log cabin) to form a platform to stack the wall rocks on. The walls are perfectly stacked flat rock in a circular pattern that seems to repeat itself after 5th layer, no mortar was used. The bottom of the well is dry and filled in with dirt and a small amount of surface debris. Also an old iron pipe extends about half way up from the bottom of the well. A shovel probe down about a foot showed that the soil continued deeper. In the bottom of the well I found two pieces of antique broken glass, chips of red brick, and a cave salamander (Eurycea   lucifuga). The total depth of the well is 19 feet.Bedrock, timbers, and stacked rock at the bottom of the well.

Research into the age of the well has not turned up any definitive time it was constructed. The most logical assumption would be that the well was built in the early 1820’s along with the construction of the North House, but this has not been proven. Another question is was the well constructed to be an open well, with a bucket lowered into a pool of water then drawn up? The circumference of the well and the size of the bedrock cistern at the bottom seemingly fit the dimensions for this style of well, but the absence of water in the bottom and iron pipe suggests that possibly a hand pump was at one time used. Two panoramic photographs of Lewisburg show the back of the North House and structures that appear to be at the well site. In the oldest picture, circa 1890-1900, a small shed appears to be over the well. In a later photo, circa 1902-1920, what appears to be a concrete platform with a hand pump is at the location of the well site. Possibly, the well was dug to be an open well and at a later time the hand pump was installed.

North House Well sketchNow the question is what to do with the well? The well is important to the North House’s history and should be preserved better than having a metal grate hiding it. Continuing research could provide more evidence of what the housing over the well looked like when the North House was a private residence. This housing could be reconstructed to be period correct and add to the aesthetics of the North House lawn.

For more information about the North House well, contact AmeriCorps member Kyle Mills at the Greenbrier Historical Society at 304.645.3398.