Monday, April 10, 2006

The Virginian Hotel/Stewart Arms Hotel/Home




Being in Lynchbug has sent me pinwheeling down memory lane. I was fortunate enough to eat tonight with Stephanie Whitson Higgins and her husband, Dan, and son, Max. We ate downtown at the DPO, and I was amazed to see how Lynchburg's downtown area has been revived. After dinner we drove around and I looked for the old Virginian Hotel/Stewart Arms Hotel, which later served as a dorm for Liberty University students--back when it was still known as Liberty Baptist College. I was a student at LBC back then, and I lived in this hotel for two years--on the sixth floor, to be precise, and I can still point out the windows of my rooms in the postcard picture.

And see that glorious staircase in the interior photo? Whenever we had a banquet, we girls would take the elevator down to the second floor, then walk down that staircase to meet out dates waiting in the lobby. Somehow that beautiful marble staircase was the perfect accessory for our formal wear. And Mama Lind lived on the second floor--in a little apartment where we could visit her and she could look out and keep an eye on us students. She was a "widow indeed" as spoken of in Scripture--a preacher's wife, she lived with us and was "mama" to all of us.

I spent a lot of hours talking to a lot of friends in that hotel . . . including the man who became my husband. I washed clothes in the basement laundry room, ate meals in the cafeteria off the first floor, lived on the bottom berth of a triple bunkbed with two roommates.

I LOVE old buildings and hate to see them torn down, though the last time I saw the old hotel, it had fallen into sad disrepair. The elevator was one of the old kind where you close the gate yourself and pumped the handle to take the car up or down. When I first arrived, a gentleman worked the elevator for us--I think he had been employed by the hotel, and when the college bought the building, he stayed on.

Such wonderful memories. I've been bombarded with them this weekend as I visited Lynchburg again . . . walking the halls where I used to teach school, sitting in the hard pews where I heard from great men of God, standing on the very spot on the Thomas Road platform where I took my marriage vows. So much has changed in the last twenty years--you won't believe everything the university now has to offer--but much remains the same. The people, for instance.

This weekend has been like one prolonged case of deja vu, but I've loved every minute of it. I'll have to come back again and bring my husband . . . soon.

8 comments:

Ane Mulligan said...

I loved today's thought for the day. What a great reminder. I've discovered that once or twice I did whisper instead of say in my writing. Now I'm going to stick a post-it note on my computer as a reminder. Thanks, Angie!

Susan said...

What a wonderful dorm you had! It's nice to be able to revisit places so full of rich memories. It's like going home.

Secesh1860 said...

Thanks for posting the picture, Angie.....I was here for two years, in the 70s (you and I overlapped one year, I think), and always loved the look of this part of the hotel....I was in Chorale, and we had what had been the honeymoon suite as our room!

Colleen

gracefullily said...

I was first on the island for a week and then moved to the hotel. I lived there from 1973-1977. What memories, yes the ancient elevator which was always getting stuck. The long line into the dinning room to eat. The beautiful staircase. Sitting on the inside steps and waiting for the busses to take us to class. Oh and those 3 tier bunkbeds. I remember falling off the top bunk one night. Ouch!!!!! Thanks so much for blogging about the hotel.

Mr. T said...

Angie,

Thanks for the post. I also remember some great conversations with friends and a lot of Rook games. I remember my first year at the hotel. There was one old 19" black and white TV in the lobby and no hot water. My second year on second floor I remember a loud and so times obnoxious floor mate named Mark. How many videos has he sold?

Bill Strine said...

thanx for the pix... was there for a year (79-80, I believe), and loved livin at the Hotel.

Anonymous said...

Tim Lawler August of 1975 - Dec. 1977,some incredible memories, you really had to want to be there. I drove bus for the college for 2 years, drove to all the remotes. Loved it.

kl327207 said...

My first year on the 6th floor was so much fun and exciting... All the LBC chorale girls were just down the hall and were in my prayer group (while they were in town).. meeting them made me realize I wanted to be a part of Youth Aflame and travel and sing.
The Hotel was fabulous, even the slow elevator! Wouldn't trade my first year staying there for anything... :)