By Jonathan Wright
Lewisburg, Fairlea, and Ronceverte are so virtually connected that it’s often lost on most folks who have lived here for any time at all.
We locals, of course, think of our three communities as separate entities—which they are, of course. The map shows them that way. Our city and county governments operate the three communities that way.
But they’re really run together.
Run together? Of course—think about it.
As you drive south up the hill out of Lewisburg on U.S. 219 and round the curve at the Holt Lane intersection, you barely emerge from residential areas before quickly coming to the imposing commercial operation known as the Greenbrier Valley Mall, at the north edge of Fairlea.
Then for the next nearly two miles you drive past numerous other residential streets, the state fairgrounds, and then the heavy commercial area of south Fairlea, dominated by Red Oaks Shopping Center.
The best indication of separate communities is seen during a trek down Ronceverte Hill to the city of Ronceverte proper. However—and this is where it gets really interesting—the Ronceverte and Lewisburg post offices have historically had things in a muddle.
You know it as well as I do. Ronceverte addresses go north on U.S. 219 into about half of Fairlea, where the Lewisburg addresses kick in. But then the southbound side of U.S. 219 is dominated by mostly Lewisburg addresses, including Greenbrier Manor and Greenbrier East High School.
Then Greenbrier Valley Medical Center, right next to the high school, has a Ronceverte address, as do the medical facilities nearby. But go on south closer to Ronceverte at the medical park where Rocky Hill Rd., Dawkins Dr., and Davis Stuart Rd. converge, and you’re back to Lewisburg addresses.
I could go on, but you get the idea. Our three communities are hopelessly, permanently intertwined in many ways. As future construction eventually fills in any remaining gaps, it will be even more so.
Sometimes I wistfully think of the advantages of merging all three communities into one. With the impressive population total, it would have more clout and possibly be able to do more than the two separate incorporated communities and one unincorporated community.
But, of course, that will never happen. There’s way too much history and local community pride to allow that to occur. Maybe we could just settle for more definitive, colorful signage at the borders of each community.
In the meantime, we’ll just have to do what we’ve done for decades and decades with local confusion—live with it.
We’re pretty good at that anyway.