Please note that registering for a dog park membership gives you access to both Goldie Gibbons and the Wurzburg Dog Park at Ambrose Park.
This property was purchased by Goldie and Gladstone Gibbons on November 2, 1944, from J.W. LeMaster and his wife, Azaline V. LeMaster. A large wooden Victorian building once stood proudly in the northwest corner of this 1.7 acre parcel and the structure became home to whoever owned the property at the time. Along with being a homestead, through the years this structure housed a general store, the Bedington Post Office, an office to Doctor Andy LeMaster, and a station where local folks would wait to board the Cumberland Valley train. They would purchase their ticket to take them south to Martinsburg or north to Hagerstown. Anyone brought to Doctor LeMaster’s office with an illness or injury that required hospitalization was loaded onto the train and taken to Martinsburg or Hagerstown, depending on which direction the train was headed at the time of need.
Virginia Lee Gibbons was born on October 11, 1946 and became an eye witness to what lead to this property becoming a public park and dog park. As Virginia Lee grew up on this property, she saw her mom, Goldie, begin to take in stray animals. Before long, many dogs had taken up residence at the Gibbons’ property. Goldie took in animals that were sick, injured, or simply didn’t have a place to stay. She would treat and care for the animals until they regained their strength then, through very loving effort, tried to find them a good family willing to adopt them. If she was unsuccessful, she would adopt them herself. Virginia once stated in a newspaper article that she had no idea how many dogs had romped around on this property. The good folks of the Bedington area referred to Goldie Gibbons as the Bedington Humane Society because of the loving care and concern she had for animals.
Virginia Lee left the area to attend school where she studied law and was later hired by the federal government as an attorney for the Environmental Protection Agency. In the early 1970’s, Virginia Lee returned home for a visit and purchased a mobile home for her mother and placed it in the center of the property. Goldie Gibbons made her residence in this home until her death in 1981. In the mid-1980’s, the old Victorian house had become dangerously weak and dilapidated. Virginia decided to have it torn down and used the mobile home as a rental property in the 1990’s. When the mobile home was removed, the property became a vacant piece of land and Virginia was living in Alexandria, Virginia. Many people contacted Virginia wanting to purchase the property, but all were turned away because Virginia had a plan in mind for this parcel of land. Virginia Lee contacted long-time Bedington resident, Phil Martin, about maintaining the property in her absence. He agreed and this arrangement lasted until 2016 when Virginia donated the land, for the purpose of becoming a public park area, to the Berkeley County Council.
The design and construction of the park would be turned over to the Martinsburg-Berkeley County Parks &
Recreation Board. The M-BC Parks & Recreation Board would be responsible for operating and maintaining
the park as well. Virginia Lee passed away on June 15, 2016. Funds were given from her estate to the Eastern
West Virginia Community Foundation to allow for construction of the park, but also to establish an endowment
to help maintain the park in future years.
From her hospital bed, she expressed her immense joy to know that the dream she had to honor her mother,
Goldie, would become a reality. Of course, a significant part of this park would be a dog park.