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SharePrint Media File

Type: Video

Series Title West Virginia: A Film History

Filmmaker Mark Samels

Company West Virginia Humanities Council

Format DVD


The most famous resort was White Sulphur Springs in the Greenbrier Valley.

Elegant cottages fanned out in rows including Paradise Row for newlyweds and Wolf Row for bachelors.

“White Sulphur has something imminently aristocratic about it. You feel that you are with your fellows here.” John H. B. Latrobe

Opposite the cottages sat the massive, grand central hotel. Four hundred feet long, known to patrons as simply The White.

If I can’t go to the White as I am accustomed to, declared a Richmond judge, I’ll just stay home and die.

It was the closest thing the old south had to a summer capitol. The hotel dining room seated twelve hundred guests. Many brought their own slaves to serve them. Others relied on slaves owned by the hotel.

“If you have no servant, you must bribe one of those attached to the place or you run the risk of getting little or nothing. Bribe high and you live high. Avoid bribery and you starve.” John H. B. Latrobe

By the late 1850’s, White Sulphur Springs had replaced nearly a hundred of its slaves with free blacks. The change went largely unnoticed by the resort’s slave- holding patrons, but its larger meaning would soon become painfully clear.

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