By Andrea Oakes
Councilwoman, Staunton City Council
On a recent May afternoon, the members of Staunton’s city council drove to the top of Betsy Bell Mountain, a 70-acre public park located within the city limits, to fulfill a promise. Four-wheeling up the rough gravel road, they climbed out at the top (elevation 1,959 feet) and walked to the observation platform to take in the breath-taking views of the Blue Ridge Mountains to the east, the Shenandoah Valley, and the city of Staunton that has built up around the mountain’s base.
Originally owned by John Lewis who founded Staunton, the mountain was passed down through the family over the years. In 1941, owner Charles Catlett left the 50-acre summit to the city with a few stipulations: