Ronceverte, West Virginia

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Ronceverte is a city in Greenbrier County, West Virginia, on the Greenbrier River. The population was 1,557 at the 2000 census.


Culture and History

Ronceverte might have been named Edgar, for the high number of Edgars who lived in the town, but the name was settled by a leading entrepreneur of the area, Cecil Clay, president of the St. Lawrence Boom and Manufacturing Company. According to Clay, he saw the name on an old Jesuit map from Fort Duquesne. His argument was the name "looked well in print and was euphonious in sound."[3] As the owner of the town's site, Clay argued he had the right to decide on the name, but the residents could change the name to whatever they wanted once Ronceverte was fully established. That day has never happened. Since April 1, 1882, the town has been Ronceverte.

Ronceverte is French for "Bramble Green" which is the Gallic equivalent for "Greenbrier". The Greenbriers are a common vine (Smilax rotundifolia) and a humorous myth has it the surveyors were trapped in a thicket of the painful vines when they discovered the Greenbrier River. French surveyors were likely the first cartographers for the area, although much of the details have been lost to history.

The river is still inseparable from the culture of the town itself, considered one of the earliest significant riverports in the Greenbrier River watershed.[1]


Ronceverte is a proud railroad town, a part of the C&O tracklines that connected Pocahontas County to Hinton, and to Clifton Forge, Virginia. Ronceverte was part of the "Gravel Girtie" line where Hinton-based train cars were sent to the limestone quarry at Fort Spring and loaded with crushed lime. This cargo was sent to Clifton Forge where it fluxed in the large furnaces.

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