The Greenbrier Historical Society is pleased to be celebrating its 50th Anniversary in 2013! In honor of this milestone, we will be writing several articles about the history of the organization as well as some of the memorable events and projects throughout the years.
The Greenbrier Historical Society officially began in 1963, but as early as 1941, a group of dedicated individuals began collecting artifacts and documents. The town of Lewisburg acquired and restored James Frazier’s 1834 law library, once used by the Supreme Court of Virginia. The building was dedicated as the Greenbrier County Library in 1941 and the city opened the Greenbrier County Museum on the second floor.
In 1963, the Greenbrier Historical Society was officially incorporated “to promote interest in the history of the Greenbrier Area, including its past and present inhabitants, and their interests, works, and aspirations.” They continued to operate the archives and museum in the second floor of the Greenbrier County Library until 1976 when the need for more space led them to lease the North House from the State of West Virginia.Among the 300 original members are many individuals who have been instrumental to the organization over the years – including the first officers: President James P. Baker, Vice President Norman Blake, Secretary C. Thomas Sydenstricker, Treasurer William M. Dickson, and Archivist Gladys C. Agsten.
The first President, Mr. James P. Baker, wrote in the 1963 Journal of the Greenbrier Historical Society that “history is more than records of great battles, than chronicles depicting the rise and fall of empires, than stories of famous or infamous men; it is the story of life…History has [also] never been contained by county or state lines, or by any other boundary lines.” As the society moves forward into the future, it will continue to embrace this definition of history—expanding its knowledge of local events and giving voice to individuals and communities from across the Greenbrier Valley.
Please join the Greenbrier Historical Society in celebrating our 50th Anniversary this year by sending us your photographs and historical society stories. Tell us about the great projects undertaken, the fun events hosted, and the amazing volunteers who have been dedicated to our organization over the years. We will be compiling all of our information to create a “Greenbrier Historical Society Remembers” exhibit in the Fall of 2013.