Alderson is the home of Camp Greenbrier, a summer camp
for boys, located on about twenty acres of land on the river just east of
the town limits.
Outdoor camping for health
and education of youth is a peculiarly American institution. No
other country has organized outdoor camping or camps to such an extent as
the United States.
Camp Greenbrier had its first season in the summer of
1893. It is the oldest summer camp in the south and the third oldest
in continuous operation in America. Only two or three businesses in
Alderson have had a longer life.
Camp Greenbrier had a distinguished group of men who
started the camp and, over the long period of years, men of great
scholarship and leadership have been on the staff. Dr. Walter
Hullihen, Ph. D., a college professor at Grant college, Chattanooga,
Tennessee, later with the University of the South, and Horace Whitman, a
distinguished lawyer still living in Baltimore, met at Johns-Hopkins
University. These two men and other men camped up and down the
Greenbrier in 1895, 1896 and 1897, searching for a camp site to start an
educational and athletic camp for boys. They settled on Alderson.
The prestige of the staff and the location of the
camp attracted a substantial clientele. Until the mid 1920's, the
camp had a compulsory academic program taught in Walker Hall, now
demolished, with Greek, German, French, English, Geometry, Algebra,
Trigonometry, Analytical Geometry, History, Physics, and Chemistry.
(No laboratory work.)
The qualifications of the staff were impressive.
Most of them held Ph. D or Master's degrees, and none less than a
Bachelor's degree. Classes were held during the morning and teaching
was intensive. The purpose was to help boys advance academically or,
in some cases, help them in make-up work.
The athletic programs was divers. baseball,
tennis, swimming, canoeing, every kind of track event, marksmanship, trap
shooting and hiking were some of the sports. The baseball team
played Alderson, Hinton, Ronceverte, Lewisburg, Covington, Hot Springs.
Some of those old baseball games must have been exciting. In some
seasons, Alderson met the camp in five games.
Dr. Hullihen owned Camp Greenbrier outright until
1921 when he became President of the University of Delaware. Camp
Greenbrier was then incorporated but Dr. Hullihen owned at least 70 % of
the stock. He brought in Dr,. Frank Hooper, John S. Walker, C. B.
Richmond and Frank Carter. All of these men were from various
universities or schools, and were minority stockholders.
From 1917 until about 1925 Camp Greenbrier was a
military camp. (Not a pare of the U. S. Army.) The camp had a
uniform, regular drills,
and a good band. Older town residents remember the camp boys and
band marching on occasions in Alderson.
Peak attendance at the Camp was in the years 1920-27, and from 1952-57,
with 225 boys and from 50-60 counselors. Presently, attendance is
In 1944 Dr. Hullihen died and
his two daughters inherited his interest. Until 1947 Frank
Carter operated the camp as Director. The Hullihen daughters sold
their interest to S. Cooper Dawson, T. S. Garnett and E. J. Male, and in
1959 male sold dot Garnett. Mr. and Mrs. T. S. Garnett are the
present owners and operators.
Dr. Hullihen specialized in trap shooting, and then the long rifle range
was started. For a time, the Camp had a 600-yard range. Now it
is a 200-yard range. Springfield 30 caliber rifles are used.
The U. S. Government has always furnished the ammunition for the range.
In addition to distinguished staff members who have been
connected with Camp Greenbrier over the years, a number of outstanding men
have been campers. Ivan Allen, Mayor of Atlanta, was at Camp
Greenbrier or five years. Bill Wade, quarterback of the World's
Champion Chicago Bears, was at the Camp for twelve years. Many have
distinguished themselves in the professions.
Camp Greenbrier still uses for athletic purposes a track built by the
old Alderson Fair in 1884 for horse races.
At the end of the regular camp period in August a "house party" starts,
attended by families. In 1964, 245 people, mostly adults, will be in
Ref: Catalogs, Camp
Greenbrier, 1907,01909, 1910
S. Cooper Dawson, Alexandria, Va.
The Alderson Lion
The contents contained in this series is copyrighted
and the sole property of
Historical Society - Lewisburg, WV
Used by permission - November 18, 2008