Sunday, December 03, 2006

Marietta Tour of Homes or Marietta Pilgrimage

Yesterday we went on the tour of homes near downtown Marietta. For a donation we got to tour five fine stately very unique homes with a lot of special things and remodeling with no monetarily limit.

Six houses were available to tour. We chose not to tour the last one because we have already toured it a few years ago.

The first house was a good size house, but it was called a cottage. To me what made it no longer a cottage was the size downstairs was about doubled with room additions and the entire second floor was added. It almost tripled in size from the original. It was also a crowd getter. People were lined out to the sidewalk.

The reason it was a crowd getter was that it was the home of the infamous Virginia Hill when she was in town. Virginia Hill was the moll and mistress of Bugsy Siegel. She paid cash for the house, I think they said $2000 in 1928. She also bought a horse that was boarded nearby and when Virginia was in town she was get about town on her horse.

The present owner of the Virginia Hill cottage has a very unique Virginia Hill on the second level. A wall covered with her news photographs, which includes her FBI Wanted Poster.

The next room from the Virginia Hill shrine is a room of dolls. There were dolls of the Lennon Sisters. The owner had some other Lennon Sisters artifacts – the reason being that is that she is cousin of the Lennon sisters. Now, I know this is a week connection, but worth mentioning: One of the Lennon Sisters was dating a mobster. I could not find anything about it on the first 50 hits of the Lennon Sisters on Google.

But one of the Lennon Sisters were dating a mobster and Virginia Hill dated gangster Bugsy Siegel – there is a tribute to both them in the same house we went to. I was thinking there may be more to this.

The side street that came up beside Virignia Hill’s cottage is Frances Avenue. Frances Avenue is where I went almost 30 years to visit Edna Garrett White. Her house was about 3 or 4 houses down on the left. Directly across Frances Avenue is the Dupree House. It was not one of the tour houses but I think the grand or great grand kids of the Dupree House had a lemonade and hot coffee stand outside that when you exited the Virginia Hill Cottage you would be facing several kids beckoning you to come on over for a treat. It made me wonder if those kids, ages from about 6 to 10, knew about the so-called ghost of Dupree’s big house? When my father was a policeman and/or chief he had to go to the Dupree’s house on more than a few occasions because Mrs. Dupree heard the house ghost up in the attic prowling around bumping into the night. I don’t know what Mrs. Dupree expect the Marietta Police Department to do about it. Shoot it? Give it a citation?

The next house we were standing in line and I heard a lady in front of us talk to another lady about “when I lived on Fryer Drive….” I couldn’t resist myself, I asked the lady did she live on Fryer Drive and she said yes. I said asked did she know Paul and Barbara Foster. She said she did indeed, she lived next door to them. Paul and Barbara Foster, now dead, were Anna’s aunt and uncle. Paul was Anna’s mother’s brother. All four of us talked a lot about Marietta then – old companies, old doctors, old everything. It is something to see Marietta natives get together that have a sadness that their town is now dissolving or diluting . We talked about a lot of old things… then, we discovered the other lady and I are distant cousins… or not really cousins, but we have the same kin-folks. She is/was a cousin to my late uncle Doug Hunter’s wife Lolagene Turner Hunter.

Interesting, a young lady, probably about 30 overheard our conversation and joined in. She had just bought and I think remodeling or modifying the an old house just down the street a couple of blocks. She was interested in the fact that I knew who the owner was at one time and their two sons. One of their sons was Lesley, I ran around with him for a short time. His brother was Felton. Their father was a doctor and Felton became a lawyer and Lesley because a pharmaceutical representative. I didn’t get around telling her this, but Lesley drunk a lot. He moved to Savannah and killed a man in a bar. It is said his brother Felton just about had to set up his law practice in Savannah for Lesley’s defense. In time Felton with his lawyer’s ability, got Lesley off. How, I don’t know. Shortly after Lesley was freed he got into another barroom fight, but this time he was stabbed and killed.

The young lady told us of who all had owned the house Lesley and his family lived in and how much each had paid and so. I think she bought the house next door to Lesley’s house and is remodeling it. Somehow, I think she is a young single professional lawyer…. For now, I will call her Miss X. Remember the name I Christened her – it will turn up again, I might test you.

Another house we toured, in one of the bedrooms upstairs the docent told pointed to the brick house next door and said that is where Alton Brown lives. Alton Brown does “ Good Eats” show on the Food Channel.

The next to the last house on the tour was on the same street (Church Street) that the others so far were on. There we two on the next street, but we were to only see one of them. However, this last house on the street for the tour is just a few houses from the last house before the downtown businesses begin. That house was a smaller house. What we read about it in the little booklet that came with the tour said it was believed the house was ordered from Sears Roebuck and Company and assembled. It was another house that has been modified and added to through the years, which now it was a big spread out house… with a lot of fantastic decorating to make the innards of the house beautiful. We were told by the different docents that it was owned by a young single professional lady who’s profession was graphic design. It was also told that her father was an artist and his art was in frames all over the house, which they were, and his watercolors were beautiful…. With a lot of love of his grandchildren tied in. In the hallway was pictures of the lady owner in Europe. I think it was Spain or Italy. Standing beside her, also posing for the picture was Miss X!

The last house we toured was the oldest house in Marietta on the tour. The house was built in 1845. And through the years was added to and added to. At first it was a four room house and today it is a stately mansion with very many trophies, such as murals, several antique cars in a garage that used to be the slave quarters, a European-like-garden, and so on.
The family that lived there was named Montgomery. One of the Montgomery females married a Suhr. One of the Suhr’s children married my first cousin David.

It seems that all the old houses are being bought and being fixed up by young professional yuppies that feel money is no object when it comes to making things like they want it.

Gone With the Wind are the days these houses were owned by Judges, company presidents, Senators, and other elitist. A new generation is taking over, lucky for us, these yuppies with a bottomless bank account are into preserving neat things and are willing share to the public, once a year.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Suzanne said...

What an interesting tour nd your description made me feel like I was on it with you. As us yuppies say, "Cool." Or something like that.

9:21 PM  
Blogger ET said...

Suzanne,
In that case tourguides are usually tippep.

2:39 AM  

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