TBT: The Alleghany Rattler May 1971: Cooper Tells of First Visit to Camp Alleghany

Editor’s Note:  As part of our year-long celebration of our 100th Year Anniversary (1922-2022), we’ll post a Throwback Thursday edition of our Alleghany Rattler Newspaper to give you a peek into life at camp across those 100 summers!

In this piece we learn about S. Cooper Dawson Jr.’s early days as a Greenbrier camper and coming over to Alleghany for dances and plays. The next few Rattler throwbacks will continue to focus on the 50th summer’s events and reflections.  

Cooper Tells of First Visit to Camp Alleghany

My first visit to Alleghany occurred in 1925, my first year at Greenbrier. We got on the train at Alderson and rode to Ronceverte where we changed to the Greenbrier Valley Special, arriving at Camp Alleghany at 3:30pm, in the afternoon. We had a swim and Alleghany provided supper for the Greenbrier boys, and then we had a dance in what is now the Senior Dining Hall.

The Playhall was not built until a later date. The ride back that night in taxis over those rough West Virginia roads, was a never to be forgotten experience, and thankfully, the roads have been improved since that date. It was a three hour ride from Alleghany to Alderson.

The next memory is a canoe trip with Greenbrier boys and Alleghany girls in 1927. We hiked to Fort Springs, where we met the girls coming down on the train, the two canoe fleets were joined and there were two boys and two girls in each of approximately fifty canoes, heading downstream through the fine rapids which we have introduced to all our Alleghany girls in the past several years.

The canoe fleet arrived at Greenbrier at approximately 3:30pm, the be followed by a baseball game with the girls as spectators. The girls stayed for supper and a dance and returned to Alleghany by bus, we hope a little faster than we made the trip in 1925.

As the years wore on, we remember bringing a play to Alleghany, “A Night In An Inn” when the entire cast of the play were invited to Alleghany to swim, to have supper and to put on the play in the Playhall in 1933. Later that night the cast gathered up a girl apiece and departed for the Greenbrier to dance and enjoy the great Greenbrier Hotel which was completely deserted in those depression years.

Returning later that evening from the Greenbrier, we found the river two feet high, and lo and behold, not a single boat on the far bank. The writer plus Lucien Goty, swam the river to bring back a boat so that the girls could cross over dry and happy. This was accomplished without great problems, and probably has been done in recent years by recent generations of Greenbrier boys.

We used to visit Alleghany every Sunday afternoon from 3:00 to 5:00 and I can remember now the bell tinkling at 5:00pm, meaning that “Pop” Worthington wanted all boys out of Alleghany immediately, and there was no doubt who was boss, because all of us left without further ado.

Visits to Alleghany through the years by the Greenbrier boys have not changed, and we are still visited Sunday afternoons by Greenbrier boys, and others, and even late at night when we wish that they might stay home.

The days 1925 through 1937 were happy days for this particular Greenbrier camper, and it especially brings back happy memories of my early Alleghany days.

S. Cooper Dawson, Jr.