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     A walking/audio tour of Montwell Commons gives you the opportunity to explore the property, learn about its industrial history, and its role in the 19th and 20th centuries.

     In the 1800s the spring at Montwell Park provided water for 2 tanneries, a creamery, and a cannery. James Withrow operated a large tannery until 1900.  It was razed and replaced by a 3-story flour mill that also housed the town's first electric light plant.  It provided street lighting in the downtown area and the Women's College.


     In 1961 the mill burned to the ground, leaving only its foundation. A log structure was built on top of this massive limestone foundation.  It was to be an artisan catering to the constant flow of traffic on US 219 and Rt. 60 until the planned Interstate 64 bypassed the town in the 1980s.


     A few years later in 1966 Mrs. Rosalie Detch purchased and developed the property into a restaurant and bar, eventually adding two motel buildings totaling 54 rooms.  She  also purchased the adjoining house now known as The Barracks, removed the siding to expose the original log structure, operated it as a museum for several years, and finally donated to the Historical Society.

Early Partners 

     The decaying inn had long been described as an eyesore that made the most common entryway to Lewisburg’s tourism center less inviting.   The property was put up for auction and several local individuals purchased the property with the idea of transforming the old motel into an attractive gateway to the City. 


     Two articles were published that described their plans for transforming the property.  The December 2017 issue of the Greenbrier Quarterly provides a very good summary of the original plans for the development of Montwell Park which is now known as Montwell Commons.  The October 7, 2013 issue of the Register-Herald Reporter also includes photos of the old motel buildings.  


     A neighboring property owner was 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 donor made a significant financial contribution toward the initial construction of the James Withrow Market Building. This would be the original site of The Local coffee shop 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.

Environmental Stewardship

     Because Montwell Commons is a beautiful and unique property adjacent to downtown Lewisburg, its leadership makes development decisions considering the current environment and future impact on the area. Here are just a few examples of this commitment to he environment.


Permeable Pavers

     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.

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