“Improving The Community One Project At A Time”
PO Box 117 - Alderson W Va. 24910
© Alderson Main Street 2014
Lions Back In Alderson
Alderson is known as the only town in the United States with an ordinance that requires
all lions in town to be on a leash. The need for such an ordinance dates to 1890,
according to one account, when a traveling circus, “French’s Great Railroad Show”, came
to Alderson along with an expectant lioness. She delivered 2 live cubs and the circus
manager intended to drown them. Mrs. Beabout, wife of the town’s blacksmith, rescued
them and one thrived. Leo, or “French” in some accounts, was well known and accepted
around town. However, a visiting salesman was so frightened by Leo padding across the
bridge behind him that he jumped into the Greenbrier River prompting the city council to
pass an ordinance requiring that lions be kept on a leash!
On June 10, three lions were installed in Alderson by Rick Burns and Eric Duff. At the suggestion of Jim Russell,
member, Alderson Main Street decided to acquire 3 lions to further the story and the uniqueness of the town. Two
were placed on the triangles at the intersection of Routes 63 and 12, to greet visitors, and the third was placed at
the overlook across from the Greenbrier River Interpretive Center, Alderson’s Visitor Center, making it an excellent
spot for a photo with an “Alderson Lion.” Some local citizens already had lions decorating their properties and
others have recently acquired lions.
Betty Thomas, President of Alderson Main Street, said, “We are excited to add these neat statues to our town. We
encourage everyone to come see them and also see how many more they can spot driving around town.”
Another “Leo” can often be seen in Alderson in the July 4th parade and walking children to school from time to
time. This lion is very friendly and enjoys giving hugs.
Mayor Travis Copenhaver said, “This is just another example of the creativity of our citizens and their desire to
make Alderson a great, and unique, place to live.”
PHOTO CAPTION: The lions were installed on concrete pads by (l to r) Rick Burns and Eric Duff with the help of
former Mayor Luther Lewallen and others.