Saving the Blue
The Lewisburg Rotary hosted Margaret Hamrick, president of the Greenbrier Historical Society (GHS), on June 2, and was brought up to speed on the restoration project involving the Blue Sulphur Springs Pavilion.
The Greek-style springhouse is the only surviving structure of the once thriving Blue Sulphur Resort, and has stood for nearly 180 years. It is located nine miles north of Alderson in the western part of Greenbrier County.
The Pavilion was added to the National Registry of Historic Places in 1992; and was named to the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia’s 2013 Endangered Properties List. In March 2013, Governor Tomblin presented a $35,000 Survey and Planning Grant to the Greenbrier Historic Landmarks Commission in partnership with the GHS and its Friends of the Blue Committee. The grant was provided by the Department of Education and the Arts through the Division of Culture and History. The Greenbrier County commission has pledged to match the grant.
In April of 2013, the owner of the property on which the Pavilion resides, Mrs. Rebecca Fleshman Lineberry, generously donated two acres of property and the Pavilion to GHS.
Hamrick expressed the sense of urgency for the restoration project due to the deterioration of the Pavilion. Rotarian George MacKinnon asked Hamrick for a ballpark figure on what kind of money needed to be raised for the project. She explained the estimate stands at around $300,000; and that donations from the public will be required to accomplish the historic restoration.
Hamrick also noted that an unwritten future goal would be to have a Trail of Springs Tour, which would include White, Blue, Red and Green Sulphur Springs stops.
Some of the dignitaries who came for the presumed medicinal proeprties of the Blue Sulphur Springs in its heyday included Andrew Jackson, Robert E. Lee, and Henry Clay. It was thought back then that everything could benefit by the warm mineral-rich waters of the springs. Unlike most springs which originate on hillsides, the Blue Sulphur Spring bubbles up from the ground right in the middle of a field; hence a resort was built around it. Though the resort is long gone, a restored Pavilion will no doubt bring the masses back to the area for a look-see, if not a dip.
Please send donations to the Greenbrier Historical Society, Friends of the Blue, 301 West Washington Street, Lewisburg, WV 24901. For more information on helping, call 304-645-3398.