In the 1700s the spring and pasture at Montwell Park offered water and grazing for horses. As the town developed, the property was used for a tannery and feed mill owned by the Withrow family. Later, a small electric generator on the property supplied the women's college and the electric street lighting in downtown.
In 1964 the feed mill burned to the ground, leaving only its foundation. A log structure was built on top of this massive limestone foundation as an artisan center to take advantage of the constant flow of traffic on US 219 and Rt. 60 before the new interstate I-64 bypassed the town.
A few years later in 1966 Mrs. Rosalie Detch purchased and developed the property into a restaurant and bar, eventually adding two motel buildings with 54 rooms.
The eroding inn had long been described as an eyesore that made the most common entryway to Lewisburg’s tourism center less inviting. Neighboring property owners Mary and Paul Lindquist were so intrigued by the prospect of an appealing use of the space adjacent to their historic home, they donated five acres of land to the project.
In 2015, Don and Marit Withrow made a significant financial contribution toward improvement of the parking lot and initial construction of the James Withrow Building. This facility would be the first site of The Local, a café now located in White Sulphur Springs; it's now the home of Amy's Market – a restaurant, bakery, and grocer – which provides responsibly grown regional produce and mindfully- prepared food.
Because Montwell Commons is a beautiful and unique property in downtown Lewisburg, its leadership makes development decisions with consideration for the current environment and future impact. Here are just a few examples of this commitment to nature.
The parking lot and roadways are constructed of permeable pavers instead of cement or blacktop. Rather than rainwater and snow runoff traveling from the surface into local drains, these pavers allow water to seep between the pavers down to various layers of specifically constructed gravel and soil - reducing potential flooding or heavy overflow because the water is slowly released back into the groundwater table or is captured and then slowly released into the drainage system.
FREE Electric Charging Stations
To support on-property customers and community members who share a commitment to the environment by driving hybrid or electric cars, Montwell Commons offers four free and convenient charging stations.
Landscaping with Native Plants
Although many native plants have been long been part of Montwell Commons' natural green areas, leadership and volunteers have consciously designed, planted, and nurtured new gardens of native plants. These selections not only provide a spring through fall variety of beauty to the area, but they require less water and maintenance. You're invited to come enjoy the native smoke trees, pas-paws, persimmons, red buds, willow oak and much more. Development of the meadow area is slated as a future project. More >
Rainwater Collection, Composting and Recycling
The Demonstration Garden utilizes a 500-gallon rain barrel to collect water for maintenance of its beds. And, on-property partners provide compostable items to enrich the soil of the Demonstration Garden > beside the Clingman Center. Additionally, Hill & Holler and Amy's Market recycle aluminum, plastic, and cardboard.