Page 3 - JAN RAPNEWS 2017
P. 3

By Dr. Patsy Barber

Take a new Howard tour bus’ Mac, a seasoned driver; Dr. Wayne         drinking Kentucky whiskey, playing cards, dancing and being the
Barnes, superb director and wife-helper Joyce Barnes; 39              lion at White Sulphur Springs.”
delightful courteous passengers, picked up from Zachery, Baton
Rouge and Tuscaloosa, Alabama and you have the formula for a          Through the decades genteel host Calwell welcomed prominent
memorable trip to Greenbrier Hotel, White Sulphur Springs, W.Va.      gentlemen, generals, politicians, lawyers, writers and social
The New Orleans football team will agree since their pre-season       leaders. Colonel Richard Singleton was one of those rich
conditioning is held on the specious grounds there.                   gentlemen who helped establish the reputation: fashionable, spring
                                                                      -going gentleman and governor of South Carolina and owner of a
From Chattanooga north, history shrouded the route because it         huge cotton plantation. The wealthiest Louisiana planters poured in
has been known forever as the Shenandoah Valley, an interstate        also. With a boom economy of the 1830s, guest capacity grew
from ancient times, mountains and two recent tunnels. Pioneers        from 200 to 700. Stephen Henderson, a Louisiana sugar planter
heading west for untapped, virgin land trudged through here in the    built in 1835 the most imposing Cottage choosing high property
1790s. A late fall found the mountainsides covered with a dazzling    between Paradise and Alabama Rows. Guests could mingle with
array of yellow, orange, bronze and red giving a surprising visual    well know figures as Dolly Madison, Daniel Webster, Davy
treat. Here we were enjoying with aplomb the scene as the bus         Crockett, Francis Scott Key, John C. Calhoun, President Martin
sped by miles of truckers traveling at their 60mph.                   Van Buren and others.

Greenbrier Hotel was our destination as it has been for others for
more than 270 years. What a massive site gleaming in chalky
white spreading wings and four floors under the auspices of
evergreens. Red ribbons and greenery flashed a welcome sign as
doormen greeted us. Oh, what a greeting, we were in for a royal
time!

Over time, many of the “Who’s Who” preferred a separate cottage
for their months of residence. Log cabins and tents were replaced
with the long rows of cottages and streets became known as
“Louisiana Row” and other identifications. Most came for the
water, others for the relaxing environment.

Nicholas Carpenter was the first to move over the mountains and

claim his “Corn Rights”. He who plants the first corn owns the land   North American conference Summit, 1956. From left: Mexican
in about 1750. This war trail of the Indians was “improved” as the    President Cortines, President Dwight Eisenhower, and Canadian
Old State Road and could provide accessible marketing from the
                                                                      Prime Minister St. Laurent at Greenbrier Hotel.
west to the east coast. George Washington was instrumental in

this measure. Taking the water led to many coming to so, although
the War of 1812 slowed the procession. Two prominent men of Finances were perennial at the Greenbrier. It was after the civil
that time are recorded: Commodore Stephen Decatur, a national War when work began anew on the Virginia Central Railroad and
hero in 1816, due to repelling the Barbary pirates. When he left its name became the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad (C&O).
                                                                      Then train loads of passengers get off at the classy brick station in
after 16 days, he bought 20 gallons of grain to take with him.
                                                                      the door of the Old White. Travelling in comfort from Washington,

Speaker of The House of Representatives and Senator from              D. C., took 15 hours instead of five days by coach. The railroad

Kentucky Henry Clay came with his group. For three days he and building frenzy across the continent resulted in the company con-
                                                                      structing grand hotels in heretofore unlikely sites. The advantage
his servants and three horses stayed for $16.51, taking nine
gallons of grain with them. Clay continued to stop and was given was to carry passengers to the hotel! The Old White passed into
                                                                      ownership of the railroad at one point.
credit for galvanizing the social life at the Springs. One writer

declared, ”He had the gift of winning friends and influencing people  Continued on page 9

especially by his wonderfully oratorical voice. He was fond of

                                                                                                               Rapides News | Page 2
   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8