By Lyra Bordelon
As renovations come to the Rudy’s building in Ronceverte, the old apartments upstairs and commercial spaces downstairs have unearthed a few things that show Greenbrier County life in the past century.
Chris and Jorge Rodriguez-Stanley, who bought the building last year, found a collection of odd trinkets and objects in broken cabinets, drawers, and the walls themselves.
The finds include a clipping from what appears to be a 1916 Greenbrier Independent, featuring an obituary and coverage of the vote for women’s suffrage, a postcard, a Horne’s Department Store hatbox, Japanese-imported and hand-painted light fixtures, an adjustable casserole dish holder, a Perma Starch bottle, a 100-year-old glass towel rack, and more.
“You can still see the handwritten note on the back of the Thanksgiving postcard,” said Jorge. “You can make out on the stamp that it was sent in 1919 from Hinton to a Mrs. Cecil Burgess in Ronceverte. This was sent just five months before the Spanish Flu pandemic came to an end. We found the postcard in a wall while we demoed one of the apartments. We almost threw it away, but Chris saw it in the plaster I was sweeping and saved it.”
The little collection also includes a glass container labeled “Greenbrier Prescription Druggists” dated Feb. 23, 1965, with medication still inside.
“The pill bottle is filled with what we believe to be ferrous sulfate to help treat iron deficiency. It was filled by the old pharmacy in the Rexall building,” Jorge said. “It was in one of the cabinets we were taking apart.”
The postcard and newspaper clipping have been submitted to the Greenbrier County Historical Society for consideration. The historical society keeps one of the most complete sets of local newspaper archives in Greenbrier County. The rest of the items are being stored as the renovations continue.
“The Horne’s Department Store hat box is a fun find that holds the rest of the treasures,” Jorge said. “The label has a partial address to a Shanklin living in Ronceverte. We are led to believe that the Shanklins once lived in the building and somehow left these possessions and might have been the last inhabitants.”
In the future, the pair hope to set up a small exhibit in the building to show off its history, but for now the items are being kept safe in the hatbox.