We mentioned in our last post that we had been lucky enough to meet one of Edge Hill’s former residents – talk about an unbelievable opportunity! A few posts ago, our blog received comments from Cindy and Johnny, whose mother, Mary, had grown up at Edge Hill. Fate certainly wanted us to meet Mary. It turns out that Mary now lives a few hours east of Quicksburg, and she had not been to the property in a number of years. When the Powerball Lotto hit $587 million, Mary’s kids sweetly offered to buy back the old farm in the event that their ticket was the big winner. Not long after, Mary awoke in the night having dreamt of her beloved Edge Hill. Mary immediately marched to her laptop (which had only been used a handful of times), logged onto the internet (which also had only been used a handful of times), and Googled “Edge Hill Quicksburg.” Low and behold, our blog popped up as a search result. Despite the late hour, Mary immediately contacted her children. When Chad and I received their comments, we could hardly believe our eyes. We had often thought that one day we would try to track down the descendants of the home’s prior owners, but we had even speculated that our letters would likely go unreturned. So, to have the opportunity to speak with someone who had not only lived in the house but also whose memory is impeccable is, well, beyond our wildest dreams.
We were able to organize a meeting with Mary and her family within a few weeks of receiving their comments; Mary graciously invited us to her home and we had the pleasure of meeting her children, their spouses, and her grandchildren. Edge Hill has a special place in their memories and their family history, and Chad and I were thrilled to hear hours of amazing stories about the house. Along with the wonderful memories, Mary was kind enough to show us dozens of photos, some of which we captured with our iPhones. A huge thanks to Mary for sharing the images, and apologies for shaky hands and poor cropping!
Mary’s father, Holmes Fowle, was born at Edge Hill in the early 1900s. His mother was a Moore (we’ve mentioned Samuel Moore as an owner in a prior post), so Edge Hill was truly the family’s homeplace. This is a portrait of Samuel Moore that Mary’s family still has – what a handsome devil!
And his wife, Amanda, whose portrait has spooked little kids for generations (although apparently she was a very kind woman):
Here is Little Holmes (we heard he was not too fond of this picture because of the “dress”):
And here is the grown and dashing Holmes, in front of the five-stall horse barn that used to be on the property:
And here is Edge Hill under the Fowles’ care:
The little boxwood in the lower lefthand corner, along with its counterpart, is now approximately 12 feet tall!
The old photo of the house also has two other things of note when compared to the more recent photo, above.
First, the old shot shows the beautiful shutters that adorned the house; although they are not on the house now, they were all diligently removed and stored to await a little TLC to the hardware. Chad and I just took inventory this weekend and are hoping to restore them to their original glory.
Second, you can see that the current addition (in the immediately preceding picture, the addition stretches off the right side of the house) was predated by an open-air colonnade that connected the main house to to free-standing summer kitchen. The 1970s addition sits on the same footprint and currently houses the trucking company’s office.
Here are a few other photos and items that Mary graciously shared with us. It is is so fun to get a feel for what the house has been like through the years!
A beautiful silver service
A vanity that was originally in the bedroom we will make the master; Mary said her father purchased the bedroom suite from a hotel in Washington, D.C.
The beautiful runner we knew had once adorned the grand staircase (predating the one we pulled out early last summer). Mary said her mother, Bootsie (seen here, and apologies if her name is misspelled!), took particular care to make sure the brass guards were polished regularly.
Here is Bootsie next to the smokehouse; the ash house is the other brick structure over Bootsie’s shoulder. We think the door to the ash house is what we were looking for when we dug through the pile of dirt behind the smoke house to salvage brick.
Here are Bootsie and Little Mary on the steps of the “little house,” or what we’ve nicknamed the slave quarters.
Finally a few oldies-but-goodies:
First, an image of the back entrance of Edge Hill in the Downton Abbey era. Look at those amazing outfits! This is now where we pull our cars up.
This is a shot of one of Holmes’ pheasant hunts on the property. Mary said he eventually stopped inviting his friends from D.C. to hunt at Edge Hill because they were careless about overhunting!
We are looking forward to seeing Mary and her family again soon – hopefully, when the weather is warmer, they will be able to come for a visit to see the work-in-progress and give us the historic tour of Edge Hill. We are so thrilled to share this experience with them and look forward to a long friendship!