A walking/audio tour of Montwell Commons gives you the opportunity to explore the property and learn about its history.
In the 1800s the spring at Montwell Park provided water for 2 tanneries, a creamery, and a cannery. James Withrow operated the large tannery until 1900. It was razed and replaced by a 3-story feed mill with the town's first electric light plant. It provided street lighting in the downtown area and the Women's College.
In 1961 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 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, a local donors made a significant financial contribution toward the initial construction of the James Withrow Market Building. This would be the original site of The Local, a café now located in White Sulphur Springs and is now the home of Amy's Market – a restaurant, bakery, and grocer – which offers locally grown produce, regional food products, breakfast and lunch specialties, ice cream, and bakery products.
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 customers and community members who share a commitment to the environment by driving electric cars, Montwell Commons offers 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 variety of colorful flowers from spring to fall, but they require less water and maintenance in addition to providing pollinators with sources of nectar. 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.
Rainwater Collection, Composting and Recycling
The Demonstration Garden utilizes a 500-gallon rain barrel to collect water for maintenance of its beds. And, Hill & Holler and Amy's Market provide compostable items to enrich the soil of the Demonstration Garden beside the Clingman Center. Aluminum, plastic, and cardboard are also recycled.