WSS building still serving Spa City after 100 years

A postcard (approximate date: latter 1920s) showing downtown White Sulphur Springs when the Midland Trail went through features the Greenbrier Pharmacy building (at right) as well as Main Street in the center of town. (Courtesy of C. Michael Williams)
A postcard (approximate date: latter 1920s) showing downtown White Sulphur Springs when the Midland Trail went through features the Greenbrier Pharmacy building (at right) as well as Main Street in the center of town. (Courtesy of C. Michael Williams)

By Peggy Mackenzie

On the east side of the bridge on Main Street in downtown White Sulphur Springs sits a white-painted brick building dating back to 1915. It was commissioned for construction by Michael Hennessy and Dr. Earl Winton Silcott. It’s not an imposing structure, but with this year marking its 100th year, it behooves local historians to take note.

Michael Hennessy was prominent in the White Sulphur Springs business community. He served as superintendent with the White Sulphur & Huntersville (also known as Iron Mountain) Railroad, and was apparently interested in the drug business. In 1912, He erected a commodious home one-half mile north of White Sulphur Springs, in which he and his wife, Margaret, resided. He was a member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks and the Brotherhood of Railway Trainmen, and was known as a genial companion and worthy citizen of his community. Hennessy died in 1945.

The Hennessy family had a farm on top of Greenbrier Mountain (Dutch Hollow portion) in the 1800s. Hennessy’s father, Edward Hennessy, was a timber land buyer and was portrayed as a character in the Ronceverte play, “Riders of the Flood,” written by W.E. Blackhurst in 1954.

Once the Main Street structure was built, it became the Greenbrier Pharmacy, presided over by Dr. Silcott, who died in 1960. The building continued to house a drug store until the late 1980s or early ‘90s. The drugstore was a “hang out” for teenagers until the 1960’s when the pharmacy contained a soda fountain. The last drugstore, a Rexall, was owned by Jess Hall. In the 1950s, WSS Insurance and Real Estate occupied the small office on the west side (bridge side). Later it became the Orkin office, and then Whitten’s Exterminating occupied the space. According the WSS City Hall administration, the current owner of the building is Pugh Webster Mannick.

 

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