We’ve told the story before about Sharon Springs’ rise as a world-renowned spa destination in the 19th century, and it’s fall from society’s graces during the Great Depression.
So much of the trajectory of history is set in motion by one pivotal force—sometimes one simple decision can chart the course for centuries. This happened when the good folk of Sharon Springs decided to forbid the building of a horseracing track (which instead moved to Saratoga).
At the turn of the 20th Century, the White Sulphur Company operated The Greenbrier, located in White Sulphur Spring, West Virginia as well as a hotel in the village of Sharon Springs, NY.
Although the Greenbrier was a center of American political and social life outside of Washington, DC, it too had a rise and fall—and then a triumphant re-birth. It’s a story of pluck and survival.
Over the last 150 years, the resort has served as a hospital for Civil War soldiers, a brief home to interned German and Japanese diplomats and their families as well as a US military hospital during WWII. Twenty-six American Presidents have slept there.
In 1958, while the resort was building a new wing, it entered a unique partnership with the US government. Simultaneous to the expansion, an underground bunker was built that could house all of the vital operations of the federal government. For the next 30 years—through the height of the Cold War– this secret underground world stood at the ready while on the surface the activities of the resort went undeterred.
In March 2009, the Greenbrier filed for bankruptcy but was saved by James Justice, a prominent West Virginian businessman. Subsequently, millions of dollars have been spent on renovations and hundreds of jobs have been saved.
When we visit, we hope to experience a little bit of history, but also to dream. Part of what makes any visit to Sharon Springs memorable is that when you turn the corner and make your way down the hill into the village proper, you don’t see a picture-perfect little village. You see something much more powerful.
You see possibility.
Read more about the Greenbrier in Dr. Robert Conte’s book, The Greenbrier: America’s Resort
Visit with us at the Greenbrier. Click here for more information