A Look Back

A Look Back

Photo courtesy of the West Virginia University Regional History Center. By William “Skip” Deegans Growing up in West Virginia, boys who were on the cusp of mischief would often be threatened with being sent to Pruntytown (commonly pronounced “pruneytown”). Pruntytown was the site of the West Virginia Reform School (pictured)....

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A Look Back

By William “Skip” Deegans Growing up in West Virginia, boys who were on the cusp of mischief would often be threatened with being sent to Pruntytown (commonly pronounced “pruneytown”). Pruntytown was the site of the West Virginia Reform School (pictured). The image most kids had of a prison came from...

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A Look Back

By William “Skip” Deegans Born in Lewisburg in 1932, Frederick L. Swann (pictured) became one of our country’s most accomplished organists. He died this past December. His parents were the Rev. Theodore and Mary Swann. Rev. Swann was minister of Lewisburg’s Methodist Church South. The Swann family moved to Clifton...

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A Look Back

By William “Skip” Deegans Coralie Franklin Cook (pictured) was born in Lexington, Virginia, in 1861 to enslaved parents, Albert and Mary Elizabeth Edmondson Franklin. Cook was a descendant of Thomas Jefferson’s slave, Elizabeth Hemings. She graduated from Storer College in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, and attended Boston’s Emerson College. It...

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A Look Back

By William “Skip” Deegans As dancers closed out 1947 swinging to the tunes of the Erskine Hawkins Orchestra in the Ronceverte Armory, they quickly caught their second wind when famed drummer Gene Krupa and his orchestra came to town for a dance in the same venue on June 6, 1948....

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A Look Back

By William “Skip” Deegans In 1947, Greenbrier Valley residents enjoyed a special holiday treat when Erskine Hawkins, his orchestra, and vocalist Jimmy Mitchell played for a midnight dance on December 28 at the Ronceverte Armory. During the 1940s and 1950s, the Erskine Hawkins Orchestra reigned supreme as one of the...

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A Look Back

By William “Skip” Deegans Award-winning actor and former resident of Lewisburg and Gap Mills, Stuart Margolin, died in Staunton, Virginia on Dec. 12 after a long and gallant battle with pancreatic cancer. He was born in Davenport, Iowa in 1940 and raised in Dallas. He experienced a troubled youth and...

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A Look Back

By William “Skip” Deegans When thinking about eastern shipbuilding centers, the cities of Newport News, Virginia and Bath, Maine come to mind. Charleston, West Virginia might not register, but it was the port of a prominent shipbuilder in the early 1900s. Ward Engineering Works was founded in 1892 by Charles...

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A Look Back

By William “Skip” Deegans Older readers may remember the Nash-Rambler, the first compact car, that was popular in the 1950s. An ancestor of that car was the Rambler shown in the 1910 photo. Thomas B. Jeffrey manufactured Rambler bicycles from 1879 to 1900. In 1902, Jeffrey began building one-cylinder cars...

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A Look Back

By William “Skip” Deegans Shown in this photo are the first additions of the Greenbrier County Courthouse. Funded by the Works Progress Administration (WPA), construction on the two wings began in 1937 and was completed in 1938. The cost of the additions was $30,000 (about $620,000 in today’s dollars). The...

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