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Mountain Messenger
Lewisburg, West Virginia
April 14, 1992     Mountain Messenger
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April 14, 1992

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/ VIII, No. 6 April 14, 1992 Serving the Greater Greenbrier Valley From Lewisburg, West virginia John H. Bowling Jr. pauses In front of plctures of hls uncle, the late Oscar Bowllng (left), and hls father, the late John H. Bowling Sr. By Carol Hall In the beginning, a young man known as "Rufus" started a hardware store in Renick. The year was 1917. "l~..ree years later he moved hls business to a White Sulphur Springs store building known as the A. P. Perry Food Store, which later became Sharp's Spa City Market and now houses the "Electric Avenue" video arcade. W. R. (Rufus) Bowling, along with brothers Heaary L. and John H. and two friends, IL F. Martin and Harper M. Smith, incorpo- rated the new stOre, However, In April of that year, the United States entered World War I, and "Mr. Rufus,'as he was known, served in the Army EngIneers while John enlisted in the Navy and a younger brother. Oscar, became a Marine. After the war. business boomed, and In 1923 the store was moved down the street where a brand new hardware store was built. In 1930 a furni- ture store was added. It became the Bowling Hardware and Fur- niture Company. Both that store and the older one suffered from disastrous fires--ln 1935 and 1976--but they were rebuilt, and it was "business as usual." In 1947 "Mr. Rufus" retired. and his brother, John H. St., became president. Oscar served as secretary-treasurer until 1970, when the company was re-organlzed. John H. Bowling Jr. had started working at the store during the summer of 1944. He graduated from West Virginia University in 1953 and became a full-time employee. In December of 1945, John Jr. was joined by G. M. (Jack) parker, and in 1952 Leon Whited ~ecame associated with the usiness. Then in 1970 the old guard gave over, and John Bowling Jr, took over the reins Work Set Local Area Governor Gaston Caperton announced April 6 that highway improvements in seven counties, Including 1-64 resurfaclng in Greenbrier County. will be opened for bids May 5. The multimillion- dollar Greenbrler County contract will overlay the pavement with as- phalt, then saw and seal por- tions of the new pavement over the existing Joints In an experi- mental effort to prevent future cracking. The work will cover 5.87 miles from the U. S. 219 overpass at Lewisburg to the Hart's Run (White Sulphur Springs - Caldwell) interchange and Includes guardrall and pave- ment marklngs. as president. Leon Whited and George M. (Jack) Parker also became officers. Today,. 75 years later, the store--located on Route 92 since November 1985--- continues to be a family business. In 1970 it was incorporated as Bowllng's Inc. and was officially named Bowling's Home Center--but is locally known simply as "Bowllng's" or "Bowling's Hardware." And it continues to flourish. The old guard is still In place, but a new generation is waiting "in the wings," ready to take~~ Bruce Bowling, ~"s~ 1:ted)l| s career in May of 1979 and heads up the NAPA (National Auto Part Association) department. Jack's son "G. P." Parker joined the firm in 1986. and Leon's son Mike came on board in April 1973. Jack Parker is still active in the business, and Leon Whited retired in 1990. According to John Bowling Jr., there are not many changes in the basic hardware items, but there are definite changes in merchandising. to be from Bowllng's." he laughed. He noted all items loaned for the display will be tagged and returned to the own- ers at the end of the week. A schedule of the activities planned for the celebration week will appear at a later date. By Jonathan Wright The proposed demolition of a number of old buildings on West Main Street in downtown Ronceverte came a step closer April 7 as the city's Board of Commissioners appointed a Housing and Urban Renewal Authority. Members of the group took the oath of office following action by the Commissioners to estab- lish the authority. The new group will have the power to ac- quire, condemn, and purchase property and is expected to deal with many of the details remain- ing in the city's ongoing project to acquire and demolish a num- ber of old structures between City Hall and Ronceverte Hill. The comprehensive plan for the work was developed through the West Virginia State Historic Preservation Office and the fed- eral Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. The 15rocess began in 1987, when the city received a $400,000 block grant to revital- ize the downtown area after damage from the November 1985 flood of the Gr~enbrler River. Approximately $300,000 has already been spent on a "street- scape" project, primarily on Edgar Avenue. The remainder of the money was set aside for the acquisition of the West Main Street buildings for future razing and landscape projects. Louis Longanacre gave the oath of office to the authority members at the City Hall meet- Mountain Messenger Expanding to Southern Pocahontas County The staff of the Mountain Messenger is pleased ,o announce that during the next three weeks we will be expanding our free distribution into southern Pocahontas County. We look forward to g ~V~' OU~ ~~ra County frie1~ds wi{tl stone of the best news feature and adveitislng services in southern West VirgInia As we organize carrier service for our new customers we ask any resident of southern Pocahontas County who is not receiving the Mountain Messenger by the end of April or knows of someone who is not to write or call our office Our address is 122 North Court Street Lewisburg 24901 Our office telephone number is 647-5724. We appreciate the assistance of our readers as we continue working to serve the Greenbrier Valley better. "Forty to fifty years ago, eve- rything was bought in bulk-- nails, screws, horse shoes, etc.." he said. "A person could buy by the dozen or by the pound. Now everything comes in packages for the convenience of the consumer. But we still sell nails by the pound, and we're one of the few places that still does. Bowling said t/tat, in his opin- ion, merchandising is not as much "fun" as it used to be: "II~e big companies like Wal-Mart and K-Mart make it very hard on the little man. They~e taken the fun out of it. and the profit is no longer there. It's tough for the little store to survive." Bowling stated the furniture business is very competitive. "I guess the hardest thing we face in our business lies in the people's perception that larger stores' prices are better than an independent dealer's, but that's not true. " he said. shrugging. "People laugh at that. but it's a fact. Big stores cut prices on 20 to 30 items--and raise them on others--but people don't perceive that." "Also, it's kind of sad to real- ize the hardware store Is the last of the old-time type of country store that carried a little bit of what everyone needed," Bowling added. He noted the store is not yet computerized but said it is a "must" for the future if the store Is going to "keep up." A family saga of service to the community, state, and country began in 1916, and In honor of that day 75 years ago, Bowllng's Home Center will have a week-long celebration begin- ning May 8 and continuing until the 16th. Bowling asks local citizens to bring to the store any antique hardware they might have for a planned antique hardware dis- play--'but their items don't have Members of "Little Texas": Porter Howell (left), Duane Propes, Tlm Rushlow, Del Gray, Dwayne O'Brien, and Brady Seals Ronceverte River Festival to Host New Country Music Group The Ronceverte River Festival Committee and Runyon Distrib- uting Company announce that new country music group "Little Texas" will perform June 13 at the Island Park Amphitheater as part of the annual festival. Warner Brothers' newest group, "Little Texas" takes its name from a hollow south of Nashville named for its tough characters whose lawless acthrl- ties were publicized In the 1940s and 1950s. Since hitting the road in early 1988, the group has toured the United States non-stop. Little Texas' music has a hard-rock edge and harmonies reminiscent of the early Eagles, critics say. The group is one of the newest acts in country mu- sic. Its debut single. "Some Guys Have All the Love," has cracked the Billboard country top 10, and its accompanying video has been to number one on the Nashville Network charts. Little Texas released its debut album. "There's a First Time for Everything," in March 1992. They have appeared on the Nashville Network's "Nashville Now" program with host Ralph Emery, and an opening slot awaits them with the 1992 Clint Black Tour. Tickets for the Little Texas concert will be sold in advance and at the gate. Ticket prices are still being determined. More in- formation is available at the Ronceverie Public Library. | ' ....... I .............. ing. The members Include Bob Llvesay, Charles Miller, Susan Morgan, Martin Smith, and Mary Bobbitt. Following the installation of the group, the Commissioners voted to concur on the appraised values of the affected properties. The next course of action will in- volve the correspondence to each of the affected landowners, George and Mildred Bennett and William Perrine, offering them the appraised prices. The letters were to be sent within 30 days. In other business. Virgil Hanshaw reported to the Commissioners that the Roncev- erte Planning Commission is now organized and functioning and has already dealt with two variance requests. The Commis- sioners voted to appoint the following persons to the Board of Zoning Appeals: Buzzy Allen, Bob Livesay, Donald Honaker, William Shankland, Freddie Hodges (alternate), and Steve Cooke. Commissioner Lindy Hodges issued a reminder to Island Park users that the Ronceverte- Fairlea Little League has "abso- lute control" of the Little League field and concession stand at Island Park and that permission to use the facilities must come from the president of the Little League. City Clerk Susan Coffman recommended the re-appoint- ment of Howard Cloke Ill of Elementary By Carol llall "I was not a good student when I was your age." West Virginia Governor Gaston Caper- ton told the students of Union Elementary School during a visit April 9. "I was dyslexic. That Buchannon to audit the city's books, The Commissioners voted in favor of the re-appointmenl. Fire Chief Gary Carter re- ported the recent fire school sponsored by the Ronceverle Volunteer Fire Department was billed by West Virginia Univer- sity as the fourth largest one in the state and the largest in the state among schools being held for the first time Fireman Bill Bums thanked the mayor and the city for their support and re ported 244 paid registrants An unexpected weekend snow re duced the expected numbers by about ten percent he added The next meeting of the Ron ceverte Board of Commissioners will be May 5 7 pm at City Hall Horses, Horses Miniatures Graze in Area By Caol Hall Just outside Lewlsburg on U. S. Route 219 north lies a calico quilt-llke patchwork of miniature horses. Although most of them are no bigger than 34 inches, they are real honest-to~ goodness horses, according to owner Grady Whitlock of Beck- ley. Whiflock keeps some of the animals at this location in Greenbrier County, a tradition started by his father, and some at his farm in Becldey. "They have to be 34 inches ov under to be called miniature horses," he said. The anin|als are descendants of normal-size horses In Europe they+ were bred down over many years to be small enough to work in the mines and later became novel- ties for wealthy people. "They gave them to their chll dren for pets in the 1800's.7 Whltlock explained. "They also had them in Argentina. That line of miniature horses Is called 'Falabella.'" he shook his head at the large amount of hands raised. But when he asked how many chil- dren read a book after school and saw the many raised hands, he clapped. "There is something special In each child here. It's important to dream, and the things that go along with that are to set goals, study hard, and prepare for the future." Caperton explained that Arnold Schwartzanegger recently visited him in Charleston In an effort to help the President to get more people to become physi- means I had a reading dlsabil- I ! he worked hard to overcome his disability and urged them to read more and watch TV less. Asking the children how i many watched TV after school, 4 These miniature horses sport tally fit shaggy winter coats on the N&~lnold Schwartzanegger told Whltlc~k Farm near Lewisburg. me the Greeks believed a person should be sound in soul, and body," Caperton said, "If you get no physical exercise, you're not physically fit. You can't study well, and you won't be healthy." The Governor got a big laugh from the students, teachers, and visitors by telling them ff they didn't get physically fit. "The Terminator' (Schwartzanegger) might come here, and you chil- dren would be in real troublel" Following his address, the band, made up of students in grades 4 through 6, played two pieces, and the school chorus performed a "rap" song and a medley of songs from The L/ttie Mermaid movie. Caperton then visited each room of the schlool. In one of the first- or second-grade rooms, he had the children rise and follow him through some exercises Schwartzanegger "taught~ him. While bending over to touch his toes, one of the children piped up. "You're bending your knees," which brought a laugh from the Governor. "Well," he said, "l am getting older." Several children in the differ- ent classrooms thanked the t9 tl See Governor, Page 2A In the 1930's the miniature horses were lmport~i to the United States from England by Whltlock's father, J. K. Whitloek, a pioneer in the field. He sold the tiny horses to coal mines In Raleigh, Wyoming, Nicholas. Greenbrier, and Logan counties. Since the mines had 34-1nch seams of coal, the horses had to meet that specification. Thev See "Horses," Page 2A Inside Today Agriculture ....................... 6A Br lefly ............................... 3A Carnegie Column ............ 8A Classifleci ......................... 7B For the Record ................ 2A From the Mayor's Desk_.3A Home Accent ................... 9A Nutrition News ............... 10A obltyuarles ....................... 7A Opinion ....... . .................... 4A Roberta ............................ 5A Sl~as ............................... 1S The Governor's View .... 11A Week in Weather ............. 5A I I I ,, ..... If ..... I I ..... !~ i i I I III Ill ...... II _ J ..... .................... II I I I 3 ...... [ ..... [