By Peggy Mackenzie
At Tuesday night’s Greenbrier County Commission meeting, several members of the Greenbrier County Historical Society came to request $50,000 as a supportive funding leg for the structural preservation of the Blue Sulphur Springs Pavilion, located nine miles from Alderson and 15 miles from Lewisburg. Friends of the Blue Chairman Alex McLaughlin’s presentation had a tone of urgency owing to the fragility of the pre-Civil War Greek Revival structure, built in 1834, that was burned down during the hostilities of the Civil War.
The Greek Revival pavilion, which includes 12 columns, is the only surviving structure from the Blue Sulphur Springs Resort, a 19th century mineral spa resort with space for 200 guests, named for the iridescent color of the on site springs. Friends of the Blue and the historical society hope to restore the pavilion before it topples to the ground.
“It is beautiful, historic treasure for the county,” McLaughlin said.
The historic structure is on the National Register of Historic Places, he said, and the Friends of the Blue have received letters of support from several municipal authorities.
“Saving the pavilion is good for the community and the economy. By trying to save the pavilion, we’re saving history,” McLaughlin said. Historic tourism is a major income source for the county.
Margaret Hambrick, president of the Greenbrier County Historical Society and a member of Friends of the Blue, said several hundreds of thousands of dollars will be needed for this project with the total figure “in the seven figures.” The timing of their funding request is owing to the deadline for a SHIPO grant for $200,000, which requires that everything must be in place before they can apply for the grant funds. It will take more than the $200,000 for a permanent stabilization solution at the site, Hambrick said.
All three commissioner stated they were on board to provide the funding support asked for, but the request has to go through the Greenbrier County Arts and Recreation Committee first for approval, commission President Karen Lobban said. Her motion to that effect was approved unanimously.
In other business:
• Kaye Davis and Elizabeth Reynolds with the Healthy Family, Healthy Children initiative made a presentation urging families to sit down and eat more meals together with their children. Evidence confirms that when young children and teens share meals with their parents, the meal tends to be healthier and more balanced. Additional values shown by statistics include adolescents earn more As and Bs in school, teen drug risks are lowered, and the vocabulary of all children is enhanced when they are given the opportunity to converse with their parents.
Davis and Reynolds wanted to announce that Dec. 3 is National Dine-In Day. A proclamation for Family Meal Time was read by Lobban designating the week of Nov. 23-29 as a recognition of the value of family mealtime.