Beautiful certificate from the Greenbrier White Sulphur Springs Company
issued in 1882. This historic document was printed by A. Hoen & Company Banknote Company and has an ornate border around it with a vignette of the company name. This item has the signatures of the Company's President, Henry Mason Mathews and Secretary, John Wood and is over 130 years old. 31 unused coupons attached on top.
Henry Mason Mathews Signature
The Greenbrier is a Mobil four star resort located in the town of White Sulphur Springs in Greenbrier County, West Virginia. For most of its history it was owned by the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway. It is now a wholly owned subsidiary of CSX Corporation. Every U.S. president since Dwight Eisenhower has stayed at the resort's presidential suite.
A spring of sulphur water is at the center of the resort property. It issues forth below the green dome of the white-columned springhouse that has been the symbol of The Greenbrier for generations. Beginning in 1778, people came to "take the waters" to restore their health. For the first 125 years the resort was known by the name White Sulphur Springs.
In 1858, a hotel was built on the property. This original hotel, the Old White, was torn down in 1922, several years after the addition of the current building. In 1910, the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway purchased the resort property, building additional amenities and the Greenbrier Hotel in 1913. During World War II, the Greenbrier served as an army hospital and as the relocation center for some of the Axis diplomats still within the United States. After the war ended, C&O bought back the property from the government and reopened the resort. The hotel was redecorated by Dorothy Draper and its reopening was a social event of the season. In recent history, the resort has hosted several presidents and vice-presidents, foreign dignataries, and the Iranian Hostage Crisis hostages.
In the late 1950s the U.S. government approached The Greenbrier for assistance in the creation of an emergency relocation center to house Congress in the aftermath of a nuclear holocaust. The classified, underground facility was built in conjunction with an above ground addition to the hotel, the West Virginia Wing, between 1959 and 1962. For thirty years the owners of The Greenbrier maintained an agreement with the federal government that, in the case of an international crisis, the entire resort property would be conveyed to government use, specifically as the emergency location of the legislative branch. The underground facility contained a dormitory, kitchen, hospital and even a broadcast center for members of Congress. The broadcast center had backdrops to make it appear members of Congress were actually broadcasting from Washington, D.C., by changing the backdrop for each season-- a 100-foot radio tower was installed some miles away for these broadcasts. The convention center, which was used by the Greenbrier guests for business meetings, was actually a disguised workstation area for members of Congress complete with hidden, 50-ton blast doors. The walls of the bunker were made of reinforced concrete designed to withstand a nuclear blast in Washington, D.C.
The center was maintained by workers who were purportedly hotel audio visual employees and operated under a dummy company named Forsythe Associates. Many of these same workers are employed by the hotel today and for a time gave guided tours. The complex is still maintained today by the Greenbrier and the facility remains much like it was in 1992 when the secret was revealed. While almost all of the furnishings were removed following the decommissioning of the bunker, furnishings close to what would have been in it at the time have been placed back in to approximate what the bunker looked like while it was still in operation. Two of the original bunks in the dormitories remain, however.
AT&T provided phone service for both The Greenbrier Hotel and the Bunker. All calls placed from the bunker were routed through the hotel's switchboard to make it appear as if they originated from the hotel itself. The communications center in the bunker today contains representatives of three generations of telephone technology used.
Although the bunker was kept stocked with supplies for 30 years, it was never actually used as an emergency location, even during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The bunker's existence was not acknowledged until The Washington Post revealed it in a 1992 story; immediately after the Post story, the government decommissioned the bunker.
The facility has since been renovated and is also used as a data storage facility for the private sector. It is once again featured as an attraction in which visitors can tour the now declassified facilities.
This bit of trivia was the subject of a $1,000,000 question on the celebrity edition of the game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. Although comedian Norm MacDonald was somewhat sure that he knew that Greenbrier was the resort that served as an emergency relocation center, he decided to walk away with $500,000.
CSX has been lobbying the West Virginia Legislature for years to allow casino gambling at The Greenbrier, arguing that gaming would dramatically increase occupancy of the resort during the winter off-season. Under the plan, the bunker would be converted into a high-end casino, and only registered guests would be allowed to gamble there. The legislature has passed legislation that would allow gambling at the resort if approved by Greenbrier County voters. In 2000, the voters of the county turned down this option.
The resort also has a significant place in golf history. Golf legend Sam Snead was the resort's official pro for many years. Also, in 1979, The Greenbrier was the site of the first Ryder Cup contested under the current format of United States against Europe. More recently, The Greenbrier hosted the 1994 Solheim Cup, the women's equivalent to the Ryder Cup. This made The Greenbrier the first of only two locations to have hosted both the Ryder and Solheim Cups; it would be joined in 1998 by Muirfield Village near Columbus, Ohio.
West Virginia Governor Henry Mason Mathews
Born: March 29, 1834
Died: April 28, 1884
Birth State: West Virginia
Family: Married Lucy Clayton Fry; three children
School(s): University of Virginia
Periods in Office: From: March 4, 1877
To: March 4, 1881
Military Service: Army
War(s) Served: Civil War
HENRY MASON MATHEWS was born in Frankford, Virginia (now West Virginia). He received an A.B. degree from the University of Virginia in 1855 and an A.M. degree one year later. He went on to graduate from law school with honors in 1857. He opened a law office in Lewisburg, Virginia (now West Virginia) and then accepted a professorship of language and literature at Allegheny College in Blue Sulphur Springs. He enlisted in the Confederate Army at the outbreak of the Civil War, achieving the rank of Major of Artillery. He returned to his law practice in Lewisburg after the war. Elected to the West Virginia Senate in 1865, he was denied his seat because of his service with the Confederacy and his inability to take the required oath test. However, he was elected a member of the State Constitutional Convention of 1872 and then Attorney General of West Virginia, a position that he held from 1873 until 1877. Elected governor in 1876, he faced railroad strikes and riots during his tenure. When his term of office ended, he became president of the White Sulphur Springs Company.
Below is from their original incorporation papers filed in 1880:
GREEN BRIER WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS COMPANY.
I, Sobieski Brady, secretary of the state of West Virginia, hereby
certify that an agreement duly acknowledged and accompanied by
the proper affidavits, has been this day delivered to me, which agreement
is in the words and figures following :
The undersigned agree to become a corporation by the name of "
Greenbrier White Sulphur Springs Company," purchasing the White Sulphur Springs property, situated in the
county of Greenbrier, West Virginia, and operating the same as &
place of summer resort, for manufacturing and mining on said property,
bottling and selling the waters of said springs, establishing and
operating hotels, farming and grazing, merchandising, for constructing
gas works, waterworks, and bath houses, and doing all business
proper and appertaining to hotels and places of summer resort; which
said company shall keep its principal office or place of business at said
White Sulphur Springs, in the county aforesaid, and is to expire on
the third day of December, one thousand nine hundred. And for the
purpose of forming the said corporation, wo have subscribed to the
capital stock thereof the sum of one hundred and fifty thousand (
150,000) dollars, and have paid in on said subscriptions the sum of
fifty thousand (,50,000) dollars, and desire the privilege of increasing
the said capital by sales of additional shares, from time to time, to
one million of dollars in all.
The capital so subscribed is divided into shares of one hundred (
100) dollars each, which are held by the undersigned, respectively, as
follows, that is to say :
By William A, Stewart, of Saltville, Virginia, three hundred and
and seventy-five (375) shares;
George L. Peyton, of White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, thre«
hundred and seventy-five (375) shares; J. N.
Camden, of Parkersburg, West Virginia, one hundred and
eighty-eight (188) shares;
William P. Thompson, of Parkersburg, West Virginia, one hundred
and eighty-seven (187) shares ;
Henry M. Mathews, of Lewisburg, West Virginia, three hundred
and seventy-five (375) shares.
And the capital stock to be hereafter sold is to be divided into
shares of the like amount.
Given under our hands, this third day of December, one thousand
eight hundred and eighty. W. A.
GEO. L. PEYTON.
J. .N. CAMDEN. W. P.
Teste : HENRY M. MATHEWS.
JOHN WARFIELD, as to all the parties.
Wherefore, the corporators named in the said agreement, and who
have signed the same, and their successors and assigns, are hereby
declared to be from this date until the third day of December, one
thousand nine hundred, a corporation by the name and for the par-
pose set forth in said agreement. [G. S.]
at the city of Wheeling, this sixth day of December, one Given under my hand and the great seal of the said state..
One thousand eight hundred and eighty.
Secretary of State.
History from Wikipedia and OldCompanyResearch.com (old stock certificate research service).