Item of the Week – David Creigh Cartoon

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Item of the Week – October 4, 2013

This article and cartoon, printed in the Charleston Daily Mail on November 24, 1957, discusses the trial and death of David S. Creigh, the Greenbrier Martyr. Newspapers can often tell us a lot about the subject of the article as well as the time period in which the article was printed.

In November 1863, Creigh, a popular Lewisburg resident, fought and killed a Union soldier who was caught breaking his home and harassing his wife. Knowing that the Union commanders would not listen to his story, Creigh hid the body in an old dry well on his property. Unfortunately, the story spread and Creigh was arrested, sentenced to death, and hung outside of Brownsburg, Virginia.

The death of David Creigh is just one of the stories that will be told at the Haunted History event on Friday October 4th and 18th from 5-7pm.

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Item of the Week – The Lewis Theater

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Item of the Week – September 27, 2013
This photograph, from the GHS Archives, depicts the four women in front of the Marquee of the Lewis Theater on Court Street in Lewisburg (circa 1950s). The Lewis first opened in 1939 and has operated continuously as a theater ever since. Today, the Lewis is raising money for the necessary switch to digital projectors.
For more information, check out the Lewis Theater Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TheLewisTheatre 
Or the fundraising website: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1259264728/help-project-the-lewis-theatre-into-the-future?ref=live 

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!

Item of the Week – Rainelle High School

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Item of the Week – September 13, 2013

Our Item of the Week comes from the Virginia Meadows Collection, which was recently donated to the Greenbrier Historical Society’s Archives and Library. It is a photograph of students in front of the Rainelle High School circa 1956. Can anyone identify any of the individuals in the photo?

Item of the Week – Small Flax Spinning Wheel

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Item of the Week – September 6, 2013
This small flax spinning wheel, currently on display at the North House Museum, was once owned by Elizabeth Coffman Rodgers. Elizabeth was born in 1815 on Davis Stuart Road near Lewisburg, in what was at that time the Commonwealth of Virginia. Elizabeth grew up learning the crafts of spinning, dyeing and weaving from family members. She even made a living selling her distinctive bed coverings long before she married at the age of 29.

Elizabeth was quite a prolific coverlet maker at a time when only men were expected to be professional weavers. Many examples of her work are to be found around the Greenbrier area and the Greenbrier Historical Society has six in its collection.

Item of the Week: Photo of Court Street

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Item of the Week: August 30, 2013

This historic photograph from the Greenbrier Historical Society’s Archives depicts downtown Lewisburg, circa 1920. The photographer is facing North at the intersection of Court and Randolph Streets. The Greenbrier County Courthouse is on the right and the Old Lewisburg Hotel is on the left. It is believed that the Lewisburg Hotel was first operated by George D. Farr of Washington, DC around 1910. It had several owners over the years. In 1950, the name was even changed to “Wright’s Inn” when it was purchased by Oscar V.  Wright and his wife Walone Elizabeth Wright.  Today, the building is home to the Paul S. Detch Law Office.

Note the dirt road, telephone poles, and early automobiles. You can even see an example of 1920s fashion on the women walking in front of the Courthouse.

Item of the Week – Coffman Wagon

Item of the week – August 23, 2013

Covered wagons have long held an iconic place in the real and storied past of the
American frontier, and in the late 1700s, Lewisburg was the edge of the western frontier.  The main purpose of the wagon was not to transport people but to deliver raw materials from the countryside into the city and finished goods back to the frontier.  The Coffman family traveled between Lewisburg and Richmond, Philadelphia, and New York City for up to five months at a time.

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This wagon is currently on display in the Wagon House on the North House lawn in Lewisburg.  The display was recently updated by our summer intern, Allyson Miller, and will teach visitors about this type of wagon, how it was restored, and why it’s so important to the Greenbrier Valley.

Unable to make it to Lewisburg to see the new display?  No worries!  The following images are included in the new display.  But make sure to check out the Wagon House the next time you’re in the area!

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