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!