The Greenbrier Historical Society had a packed North House with the opening of the Star Room Tavern on Friday, July 16.
The building was completely packed, with dozens on dozens of guests passing through and reading the exhibits scattered throughout the former home. The tavern event specifically celebrated the North House’s history as a hotel in the 1800s.
“The Star Hotel was popular among traveling judges and lawyers who could do their research next door at the library,” explains the historical society’s website. “To create the Star Hotel, [James] Frazer more than doubled the size of the North House by adding on two additional wings of rooms for guests and various outbuildings. An 1854 description of the property stated there were two good cellars, an orchard, a vegetable garden, a fifty-horse stable, outhouses comprising of servants’ (enslaved) cabins, kitchens, a meat house, and a dairy. The hotel operated until James Frazer’s death in 1854.”
The Tavern Room event recreated the tavern room from the Frazer’s Star Hotel, bringing it into the 21st century with a variety of local brews, including Greenbrier Valley Brewing Company and Hawk Knob’s cider.
“We want to extend a HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who attended the Star Hotel Tavern Room Opening tonight!” reads the historical society’s Facebook page. “MA’AM rocked it out and we had a packed house!”The event also featured MA’AM, a two-woman band composed of “M.A. (Mary Ashton), and A.M. (Amy McIntire),” who performed originals and covers of pop, country, and jazz songs on guitar and banjo. The pair began the evening playing in the tavern room, then moving to the North House lawn as the crowd grew.
“I am overwhelmed by the community support for this exhibit.,” Venezky said. “My amazing staff have worked so hard to make the museum more relevant to the community, and this event shows that our work has really paid off. We had several community members come to the museum for the first time and were so surprised by all the updates and interesting exhibits they were able to explore. It is always so exciting to see people discovering their local history for the first time! Though it is truly bittersweet that this was my last event at the Greenbrier Historical Society, I am confident the organization will continue to grow and remain a vital asset for the Greenbrier Valley. “The opening was also Greenbrier Historical Society Executive Director Nora Venezky’s last opening with the organization. Venezky is soon departing to take another job as executive director of the Seneca Falls Heritage and Tourism Center and the Museum of Waterways and Industry in Seneca Falls, New York.
The future of the Tavern Room is up to the museum’s next executive director, but Venezky noted it could “hopefully” be open for First Friday’s in Lewisburg.