The Snead’s History is Quite Impressive (Part I)

Have you ever wondered, as you tee off on The Snead, what this beautiful golf course of ours has served as in its former life? Well, it’s a storied piece of land, let me tell you. If only these greens could talk. I invite you on this journey back through history as we uncover all the many tales our award-winning course has to tell.

We’ll start off in today’s post by covering the years 1700 – 1920s.

Let’s begin at the beginning:

Hunting Grounds




* Prior to 1700s –
This was the favorite hunting ground of Shawnee, Cherokee and Seneca Indians.

Greenbrier Valley




* 1740s
The first explorer to set foot here was John Howard, who discovered this lush valley while following the Greenbrier River.

Bowyer's Tavern




* 1784
The land was deeded to Michael Bowyer, who started a fledgling health resort that would later become The Greenbrier.

View of Kate's Mountain




* 1870
Throughout the 19th century the area was farmed by the Copeland family, and then the McPherson family. Joel McPherson, who purchased the land in 1870, called his estate “Briarfield.”

Thornton Family - 1920




* 1920s
The land was owned by Thornton Lewis, a former railroad executive who was the President of The Greenbrier. He renamed the estate “The Meadows” and operated a large horse farm where horse shows were held annually. President William Howard Taft attended one of those horse shows.

Airport Strip




* 1929
The Greenbrier purchased the land from Thornton Lewis to create a landing strip.


Pee Wee Robinson
“Photo provided by”
“Dodger greats Jackie Robinson and Pee Wee Reese”

“Photo provided by”
“Pee Wee Reese (left) and Jackie Robinson bronze statue at Brooklyn’s Coney Island”

On this date in 1964 Brooklyn Dodgers shortstop Pee Wee Reese was taking a golf vacation at The Greenbrier.

Harold Henry Reese (1918 – 1999) received many nicknames throughout his life but was known by most as “Pee Wee”. Reese was given that nickname during his marble playing days and was also a Louisville city marbles champion at age 12. Pee Wee played shortstop for the Brooklyn Dodgers, who soon afterward became the Los Angeles Dodgers. Reese was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1984.

Pee Wee also helped smooth the transition of Jackie Robinson into National League baseball by making friends with the player. Not only were they one of the most feared double-play combinations in history, but his public displays of acceptance helped ease the public and players’ resistance to integration.


Greenbrier Resort History – “On This Date” – Date: June 12th

Benson 1
“Photo provided by”

Benson 2
“Photo provided by”

On this date in 1954 Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson and his family were on vacation at The Greenbrier

Ezra Taft Benson (1899-1994), thirteenth President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was noted for his extensive Church service and his distinguished career in government. He served forty-two years as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and was U.S. secretary of agriculture for eight years in the administration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.