Voted “Coolest Small Town In America 2011″ and sited as one of the 12 best small towns in America 2004.
General Andrew Lewis, for whom this Inn and the town of Lewisburg are named, was born in Ireland in 1720. He moved to Virginia with his parents in 1729. As a surveyor for the Greenbrier Land Company, he first came to the Greenbrier area in 1751, where he “discovered” Lewis Spring on the site of the present town of Lewisburg.
In the years that followed, Lewis distinguished himself as a soldier in campaigns and expeditions against the French and their Indian allies. These endeavors earned him the respect and praise of many, including Colonel George Washington.
In 1774 the Royal Governor of Virginia, Lord Dunmore, ordered Andrew Lewis to assemble a militia force for an expedition against the united tribes of the Shawnees, Delawares, Mingoes and Ottawa under Chief Cornstalk. Based on his prior experience in the western Virginia area, he assembled the army on the Big Levels, now Lewisburg, naming the assembly area Fort Union. After an arduous march of 161 miles, the Virginia militia met and defeated the Indians at the battle of Point Pleasant on the Ohio River.
Upon the outbreak of the Revolutionary War, Lewis accepted a commission in the Continental Army and campaigned against the British until 1781. On September 25, 1781, he died of a fever and was buried in Bedford County, Virginia. Subsequently, his body was moved to Salem, Virginia, where a monument was erected in his honor.
History of the Inn – Civil War
The town of Lewisburg grew around a natural spring (Lewis Spring) which today is enclosed in a stone springhouse three blocks below the General Lewis Inn, and is believed to be the location of the original Fort Union.
Many of Lewisburg’s most beautifully preserved homes and historical sites were built in the 1830’s during the Jacksonian Presidency and the nation’s westward movement. One of these homes was the Withrow House, constructed in 1834. (Today this house is the east wing of the General Lewis inn, and houses our restaurant on the first floor and three of our rooms above.)
On May 23, 1862, a Confederate army under the command of Col. Henry Heth arrived in the early morning hours. On the high ground around the Withrow home he deployed his battery of Virginia artillery and troops. Heth’s mission was to remove and liberate the town from Union commander George Crook’s forces one half mile away. The town lay in between.
The day went badly for the South, with many wounded and dead on both sides, and the Confederate forces burned the bridge over the Greenbrier River to secure their retreat. Lewisburg remained in Federal control the remainder of the war.
In June 20, 1863, Lewisburg, Virginia became Lewisburg, West Virginia, when the new state of West Virginia entered the Union as the 35th state.
In the years to come Lewisburg continued to develop around the crossroads of Route 60 (The Midland Trail) and Route 219 (Seneca Trail). A stable economy was based on an agricultural tradition, two secondary schools – Greenbrier College for Women and Greenbrier Military School, and the Court House. In the 1920’s a young couple, Mary Noel and Randolph K. Hock moved to Lewisburg with the idea of taking the old 1834 Withrow House and, with additions, creating a new hotel celebrating the talents, handicrafts, and style of the early settlers. In May of 1929, The General Lewis Hotel (now The General Lewis Inn) opened. Today, the same family continues the traditions started so long ago.