History of The Greenbrier: From 1778 Till Today

Arsenii Anderson1
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History of The Greenbrier Casino

Nestled in the middle of the lush landscapes of West Virginia lies a grand establishment. The Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia is known as the grandest America’s Resort. It provides a complete experience, from a comfortable place to rest to the best of entertainment on the casino floor, including some of the best WV Christmas celebrations and parties.

It’s the perfect place to visit for people looking for a luxurious experience and relaxation. There are 710 guest rooms, and the establishments have welcomed 28 presidents as their guests. Many also know that The Greenbrier has a rich history and has changed immensely since 1778. Let’s take a look at the complete Greenbrier history, from its humble beginnings to the arrival of WV online gambling, and the prospectives.

📜 The Timeline of The Greenbrier

Here you will find the most significant things that happened to the resorts throughout its tumultuous history.

1778 - Healing Trips to White Sulphur Springs

The Greenbrier history started from the spring water that surrounded the area. In 1778, healthcare was still in early development, and many doctors would suggest patients cure chronic illnesses using spring water with sulfur and mineral properties. The Greenbrier, West Virginia, is located in White Sulphur Springs, and the area was thought to be the perfect place for patients seeking medicinal spring water. People started visiting to cure menstrual problems, stomach issues, and hepatitis by bathing in the springs.

1830s - The Elite Getaway

More people started visiting the area, now for leisure purposes. The resort became a main attraction to the elites, including diplomats, judges, politicians, lawyers, and merchants, mostly coming from the Southern states. They’d hold an annual congregation at the secluded resorts in the state while escaping the summer heat.

1858 - The Old White

The Greenbrier White Sulphur Springs was called America’s most fashionable social resort, and the achievement led to the first large hotel construction in the area. In 1858, the development of the Grand Central Hotel, also known as The Old White, began.

1861 - 1865 - The Civil War

Due to the Civil War, the resort was closed to the public, but the military headquarters and a hospital continued to occupy the ground. Shortly after the Civil War ended in 1865, the resort reopened.

1873 - 1910 - Expansion

The development of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad was completed in 1873, and the resort saw a significant increase in visitors. The C&O ended up buying the establishment in 1910. They started expanding as they saw the considerable potential of the resort’s perfect location beyond the springs.

1913 - The Expansion Culmination

1913 is the beginning of the Greenbrier Hotel history. The resort added The Greenbrier Hotel, which we can now see as the current hotel’s central section. The expansion also added a new mineral bath (now the grand Indoor Pool) and a golf course (The Old White).

1914 - Proper Operation

The resort operated year-round for the first time. One of the notable achievements that the resort achieved that year was the visit of the President and Mrs. Woodrow Wilson, who celebrated the Easter holiday in the vicinity.

1920 - 1930 - Booming Popularity and Rebuilding

The resort’s business peaked in 1920, and it became well-known within the high society’s traveling network. In 1922, the Old White Hotel was demolished, as the start of The Greenbrier Resort West Virginia rebuilding in 1930.

The history of the Greenbrier Hotel started with 250 hotel rooms, and the rebuilding doubled the number. The hotel’s main entrance was redesigned with Southern historical elements and a nod to the Old White Hotel’s original design.

1941 - 1946 - The Second World War

Just how The Greenbrier West Virginia functioned to support the Civil War, it happened similarly when the Second World War broke out. The US government leased The Greenbrier Hotel for seven months at the start of the war. The government used the location to relocate Italian, Japanese, and German diplomats alongside their families from Washington D.C. until they completed exchanging them for American diplomats.

In 1942, the US Army bought the area and made a mark in the Greenbrier Hotel history by reforming the hotel into a 2,000-bed hospital, renaming it Ashford General Hospital. The hospital functioned for four years to serve the war as a surgical and rehabilitation center. The resort’s recreation facilities were utilized for the soldiers’ recovery process. The Army closed the hospital right after the war ended. The C&O bought back the hotel in 1946 and redecorated the interior.

1948 - Reopening and Golf Course Popularity

The Greenbrier Resort, West Virginia, opened and started accepting guests once again in 1948. The renowned pro golfer Sam Snead came to the resort. He had been traveling worldwide to establish his career, and his coming to the resort boosted the establishment’s reputation, especially the golf course. His name helped The Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia to appeal to guests as a visit-worthy golf destination.

1950s - 1962 - Government’s Secret Project

We can’t talk about the history of the Greenbrier without mentioning the bunker project. The US government again sought assistance from the establishment in the late 1950s to construct an Emergency Relocation Center. They aimed to build an underground bomb shelter or a bunker for the US Congress in case of nuclear war. This project was kept secret from the public and constructed quietly during the Cold War.

The construction began in 1957, and what the public knew was that the resort was on another expansion to build the West Virginia Wing. Many grew suspicious due to the scale of the project, especially construction workers who had seen the amount of concrete needed to construct the West Virginia Wing. The project was completed in 1962, and to relieve the doubt, C&O built the West Virginia Wing right on top of the bunker. The bunker project was active for 30 years before being terminated and decommissioned in 1992, as the Cold War ended.

1978 - The Redesigning of The Greenbrier Course

While the bunker was active, the resort operated normally. The resort appointed Jack Nicklaus to redesign the Greenbrier Course, which hadn’t changed for 50 years, to match the championship standards to welcome the 1979 Ryder Cup Matches.

1995 - The Bunker Tour

In 1995, after the bunker was deemed inactive, the resort started offering tours to its guests to explore the bunker. This offer was made public in 2006 and is still available today, although guests are not allowed to record while sightseeing inside.

1999 - The Meadows Course Improvement

The resort redeveloped the older Lakeside Course, appointing Bob Cupp to reroute, upgrade, and redesign the area. A new Golf Academy was also added to the resort.

2000 - 2006 - The Greenbrier Sporting Club and a New Outdoor Pool

The 21st century made a significant mark in the Greenbrier Resort history. The resort’s entry into the century started with an extensive redevelopment to provide better services to the guests. This includes the Greenbrier Sporting Club, which had developed a part of the resort in 2000 to offer a neighborhood of custom-designed homes. They provide panoramic views of the Allegheny Mountains. The resort also added a new infinity edge outdoor pool open to the public in 2004.

The resort offered membership for guests who’d like to access the golf course and other private facilities like the outdoor pool, tennis courts, exercise facilities, spa, and exclusive lodge. The dated Old White Course was redeveloped to offer a new, more challenging course, completed in 2006.

2009 - Jim Justice Bought The Greenbrier

In mid-2009, the public received an announcement that Jim Justice bought The Greenbrier Resort WV from CSX Corporation, which owned the resort through the C&O Railway for 99 years. Justice aimed to revitalize the resort and came with a vision to create a casino designed by Carleton Varney. The newly added casino wpuld be smoke-free and offer entertainment, restaurants, and shops.

2010 - The Arrival of The Casino

The Casino Club was available to the public in 2010. Justice also brought a plan to relocate The Greenbrier Classic (a PGA Tour event) under Tom Watson’s direction, the resort’s new Golf Pro Emeritus. The first Greenbrier Classic tournament was held from the end of July through August 2010.

The casino’s development lasted approximately 10 months, and the initial plan was a 50,000-square-foot casino floor. However, the design resulted in a 102,000 square feet underground area with an elegant Monte Carlo-style casino. The floors contain three dining areas, a lounge, and high-end retail shops.

The casino floor was built 20 feet underground, with an expansive garden with rotational flower displays and walking paths. The redevelopment extended to a 9,000-square-foot renovation of the hotel’s lower lobby connected to the casino and front desk space.

2018 - 2021 - Online Casino and Sportsbook Partnerships

To provide more accessibility to the resort’s casino enthusiasts, The Greenbrier Resort West Virginia started working on a partnership to offer online gaming. Following the West Virginia Sports Wagering Act, which authorized the casino and four racetrack casinos at The Greenbrier to provide sports wagering, the resort partnered with BetMGM WV in August 2020. Not only does BetMGM allow The Greenbrier’s guests to enjoy sports betting in the resort, but the operator gives access to the resort to offer online sports betting and casino players through its sites and apps.

In May 2021, FanDuel WV followed BetMGM’s steps to acquire access, providing sports wagering to West Virginians through The Greenbrier Resort WV. Golden Nugget Online Casino WV was latest to join the partnership with The Greenbrier to launch its services in West Virginia in October 2021.

❓ FAQ

Do you have to stay at The Greenbrier to tour the area?

You don’t have to book a room to walk around and explore the area. Non-staying guests can also take a carriage ride or walk the ground freely. However, if you want to tour The Bunker, you must book the tour.

When did The Greenbrier’s Casino open?

According to the history of the Greenbrier, the casino was developed in 2009 and opened to the public in 2010. When the establishment moved to Jim Justice’s ownership, he came up with a vision to build a casino for the establishment, which started the casino opening.

Who currently owns The Greenbrier Resort?

It might be confusing when seeking who owns The Greenbrier Resort, as it has changed multiple times. The last person buying The Greenbrier Resort was Jim Justice, and the resort is currently still under his ownership.

Who built The Greenbrier Resort?

Although there were many developments at the beginning of the establishment, C&O Railway was the one who built The Greenbrier Resort.

When was The Greenbrier built?

If the question of when was The Greenbrier built refers to the very first version of the resort, it was in 1778. However, the establishment was much simpler than the version we can now visit. The Greenbrier has come a long way through multiple redevelopments and improvements until it became the current establishment.

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