Much More than a Resort
Only one event in the world is 100-percent tailored to the needs and interests of Citation owners: the 2014 CJP Convention. This year’s event promises to deliver more – more great content, top-tier speakers and valuable networking opportunities. Such a unique event demands an equally exceptional venue. That’s why the historic and one-of-a-kind Greenbrier was selected for this year’s host resort.
If you’ve never been to this treasure tucked into the Allegheny Mountains of West Virginia, you are in for a treat. For more than two centuries, The Greenbrier has been one of America’s premier luxury resorts. Today, it is known for its championship golf, fine dining, designer boutiques, the world’s only five-star mineral spa and a 103,000 square foot gaming and entertainment venue.
However, what makes The Greenbrier special is much more than its amenities. A walk through the resort is a trip back through America’s history. What follows is a brief history of the resort. However, like all great stories, seeing is believing and starting on Sept. 17, you’ll get that chance!
A Cure for What Ails You
In the late 18th century, medical care in the newly formed United States, was limited to say the least. Individuals with various maladies believed that the White Sulphur Spring would cure or at least alleviate their complaints. In 1778, the Greenbrier’s earliest guests visited to “take to the waters” in order to restore their health.
By the 1830s, the resort gained prominence as politicians, judges, diplomats, and merchants – mainly from the South – annually congregated to seek refuge from the summer heat. At that time, the resort consisted of only a few cottages, of which many still stand today.
Leading up to the Civil War, five sitting presidents stayed at the resort, helping it grow in reputation as the place where the most influential and powerful families gathered. Once war began, the resort closed, with both sides using the grounds as a hospital or military headquarters.
After the war, the resort gained railroad accessibility, making it easier for visitors to come and go. But big things were still to come. The Chesapeake and Ohio Railway purchased the resort in 1910 and embarked on a major expansion of the property, including the central section of today’s hotel and a new Mineral Bath Department, which house the grand indoor pool now. The railroad also installed an 18-hole golf course (now called The Old White Course) designed by prominent golf architect Charles Blair Macdonald. Following the expansion, the resort was renamed The Greenbrier. President and Mrs. Woodrow Wilson were among its early guests.
Hotel to Hospital Beds
The Greenbrier’s fate would once again change with the winds of war. In 1942, the U.S. Army purchased the hotel and converted it to a 2,000-bed hospital called the Ashford General Hospital. Over the course of four years, 24,148 soldiers were admitted and treated at the surgical and rehabilitation center. At the conclusion of World War II, the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway bought back the property and began to restore it as a premier resort.
When the hotel reopened in 1948, it needed star power to put it back in the limelight. Sam Snead, who started his career at The Greenbrier, joined the hotel as its golf pro, and soon its reputation as one of golf’s foremost destinations was cemented.
There Are Worst Places to Ride Out a Storm
At the start of the Cold War, The Greenbrier’s service to its country was far from over. The U.S. asked the hotel if it could construct a bunker or bomb shelter where Congress could retreat in case of war. The top-secret facility was constructed underneath the West Virginia Wing and for 30 years, it remained in a state of constant operational readiness. In 1992, the Washington Post exposed the bunker and as a result, it was decommissioned. (Read the original article here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/local/daily/july/25/brier1.htm)
During its Eisenhower-era use, the bunker contained the following:
– Decontamination chambers
– 18 dormitories, designed to accommodate more than 1,100 people
– Power plant with purification equipment and three 25,000-gallon water storage tanks
– Three 14,000-gallon diesel fuel storage tanks
– Communications area, including television production area and audio recording booths
– Clinic with 12 hospital beds, medical and dental operating rooms
– Intensive care unit
-Meeting rooms for the House and Senate
For those who want to see the bunker, 90-minute tours are offered daily.
Today, The Greenbrier continues to enchant, revive, and entertain its guests in an environment rooted in southern hospitality and luxury.
Want to see and hear more? Watch this behind-the-scenes video about the Greenbrier’s fascinating history. http://youtu.be/jX0NaFyAGdE