Social History: The Greenbrier, America’s Resort. Timeless traditions. Unforgettable experiences.
Over two centuries ago, in fact, more than 230 years, in a valley nestled within the eternal majesty of the Allegheny Mountains in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, a most extraordinary happening occurred – we pampered our first guests. And from that moment, until today, when you enter our grounds you become part of a haven rooted in hospitality and luxury. Welcome to The Greenbrier Resort – America’s Resort since 1778.
Reserve your place in our history today.-where experiences are timeless and memories last forever.
THE HISTORY OF THE GREENBRIER
The story of The Greenbrier begins at the sulphur water spring that remains the center of the resort property. It issues forth below the green dome of the white-columned Springhouse that serves as The Greenbrier’s symbol. Since 1778, people have come to “take the waters” to restore their health. In the 19th century, visitors drank and bathed in the sulphur water to cure everything from rheumatism to an upset stomach. Because of the water’s draw, the resort was known as White Sulphur Springs.
THE FIRST HEYDAY
Due to its isolated location-along what was then the nation’s western frontier-development proceeded slowly until settlers carved a viable stagecoach route through the densely forested mountains. In the 1830s the resort entered its first period of prominence as politicians, judges, editors, lawyers, diplomats, ministers, planters and merchants-primarily from the southern states-annually congregated at the “village in the wilderness”. They did so only in the summer months because the 2,000 foot elevation offered relief from the heat and humidity down in the lowlands. The resort originally consisted only of cottages and many-for example, Paradise Row, Alabama Row, and Baltimore Row-still stand today. Perhaps the most historic is the Presidents’ Cottage Museum. Before the Civil War, five sitting presidents stayed there demonstrating the resort’s reputation as the favored gathering place for the nation’s most influential and powerful families.
White Sulphur Springs’ well-established status as America’s most fashionable social resort led to the construction of the first large hotel in 1858. It was officially named the Grand Central Hotel, but known to long-time patrons as the Old White. This hotel boasted three stories of porches to catch summer breezes and ample space to promenade one’s stylish attire.