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The Ukrainian church in Jewett

By Dede Terns Thorpe, Town of Hunter Historian

I felt it was important to again share information on the Ukrainian Church, just outside of Hunter. Most readers feel the same way about what is happening in Ukraine; it’s difficult to watch and impossible to understand. 

Part of the following information is from an undated Windham Journal article.

Five miles west of Hunter Village is the home of an exceptional-looking Catholic Church, the St. John’s Ukrainian Catholic Church. Built on the north side of Route 23A, Hunter’s neighbor to the northwest and located in Jewett. You must see it in person to grasp its distinctiveness and beauty and how it fits into the surroundings. (Its location is just past the intersection of route 23A and county route 17, just past the Xenia; a delightful restaurant [make a reservation] with a wonderful Saturday Ukrainian buffet.

A description found on the website, Brama, said St. John’s the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church of the Eastern Rite is both a spiritual and a cultural center for Ukrainians in the United States. It was built in 1962 in the traditional (but modified) timber blockwork style. 

Brama explained the grounds, the builders, the architects, and the many other people involved in the undertaking. 

On August 14, 1960, John Kobziar organized a meeting of local Ukrainian American residents and property owners in the neighboring area. Kobziar owned the “Xenia Tourist Home” near routes 17 (the road leading to Jewett center) and 23A. The group formed the “Temporary Committee for the construction of the Ukrainian Catholic Chapel in the Vicinity of Hunter, N.Y.” The name was soon shortened to the “Temporary Committee” and chaired by Mr. Kobziar. It was May 21, 1961, when they accepted the submitted sketch design of the wooden chapel of a three-dimensional structure. (Much of this information is from the Saint John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church website). (Oshanna Kobziar, a striking-looking, bright daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Kobziar, graduated from HTC not long after the church was completed in 1962. Oksana, with their home next door, watched the daily progress of the church.)

Ukrainian Church at Hunter Serves Over 100 Families

“Saint John’s was consecrated on Saturday at 11 a.m. by the Right Reverend Joseph Shmondiuk, Bishop of a diocese that includes New York State and New England. After the consecration ceremonies, the bishop celebrated Mass according to the colorful Byzantine rite. A total of twenty-four priests took part in the first Mass held in the church.

Over 2,000 persons were present to witness the rites, some coming from Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland, and Toronto, Canada.

The church, built as a memorial to the more than 2,000 Ukrainian archbishops, bishops, and priests martyred by the Communists in Ukraine, is the only one of its kind in the United States. Constructed of hand-hewn red cypress put together with dowels throughout, it is an exact copy of the Ukrainian Catholic Churches of the Carpathian Mountains, now all destroyed.

The completed structure cost just $40,000 (about $347,712.00 in 2021). Many Ukrainians contributed their labor and materials.

The church will serve over 100 families mainly settled in the Schoharie valley between Hunter and Lexington.

Following the religious ceremonies, a dinner for 270 persons was held at John Kobziar’s Xenia Motel. St. George’s choir sang the Lord’s Prayer in Ukrainian at the beginning of the dinner and presented a selection of Ukrainian folk songs afterward. A troupe of 14 girls and boys from Hempstead, L. I., under the direction of Mr. Petrina, entertained the guests with a series of Ukrainian folk dancers.

Father Barnych, the toastmaster at the dinner, introduced the keynote speaker, former Assemblyman Stephen Jarema, representative of the Ukrainian Congress committee; Bishop Shmondink commented on the many recreational facilities built into new homes as contrasted to the complete absence of a place in the home for prayer. ‘We have televisions rooms, game rooms, playrooms, even bars,” remarked the bishop; “why not a prayer room?’

Mr. Lesawer, president of the Ukrainian National Association, extended greetings; Dr. Pushkar, of the Providence Association of Ukrainian Catholics in Philadelphia; and Fr. John Tracy, of the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Haines Falls, extended the hospitality of his church’s facilities. Dr. Ivan Makarewycz welcomed the clergy and people in the name of the new church, and its new pastor-administrator, Fr. Osidiach, extended thanks to all.”

The new church was built under the supervision of Jurij Kosliw of South Jewett.”

The La Cascade

By Dede Terns Thorpe, Town of Hunter Historian

Today’s mountain top tidbit history is about the Lox-Hurst property that houses the Mountain Top Historical Society.

It’s had a long, interesting history before it was purchased when Justine Hommel was at the Helm of the MTHS. No, this hotel was in that location but went by a new name, The La Cascade, meaning “A Waterfall.” Its new owners were Paul and Lucienne Dumas. They were known for their distinctive cooking style and had previously operated a restaurant in Paris, France.

The going rate then, including your meals, was about $60 per person per week (about $590 today). Their daughter, Fran Dumas Hoose, lives in Haines Falls, while her son, Randy, and daughter, Cindy, remain in the area. (Its fun phone number, 456, was upgraded to 589-6430 in about 1963).

Very little Information seemed to be published when owned by the Dumas family, although they owned it for over ten years. Numerous articles were found after the Jamet brothers purchased it from the Dumas family. They went back into the early 1960s.  

In 1966, a New York Times writer, Craig Claiborne, wrote: “There is a twisting, turning, rock-rimmed road that leads to the La Cascade, a hotel and restaurant that has for a slogan, “A Touch of France in the Catskills.”

Claiborne said the restaurant was worth a detour to the mountains. He said the kitchen produced its cuisine, served family-style. Claiborne described it as hors d’oeuvre, chicken crepes, or hot quiche Lorraine, soup, salad, an exquisite dinner, and ended with coffee and dessert. Walk-ins paid the cost of $4.50 for dinner and an extra $4.50 for a good bottle of wine. ($4.50 is equal today to $40.25).

Claiborne said the interior was cordial. The main room had an upright piano in the corner and a deer-skin rug on the wall. The bar walls had two mounted deer heads overhead.

The cost was $10 to $16, depending on whether you had a private bath and the size of the room accommodations. ($10 for room and board for a day equals about $92 today.)

An interesting ski contest was held in 1963, just three or four years after Hunter Mt. Ski Bowl opened. The contest required a letter (of 50 words or less) to be sent to the Brooklyn Eagle newspaper, telling them why you want to learn to ski. It gave five days of free room and board at the La Cascade, five days of free skiing, and two hours of ski lessons daily: a once-in-a-lifetime family vacation.

The La Cascade did well for years until Louis Jamet sold it sometime before 1978.

Thanks to MTHS board member Debbie Fromer for providing the following information… New owners operated it as a dude ranch until it ws lost in foreclosure. Jamet once again owned it for a few years before selling it to a partnership. It ran successfully as the Hunter Mountain Dude Ranch, managed for years by the well-liked Anna and Red Flechter.   

It went from C. A. Martin’s Lox-Hurst, circa 1884, to the La Cascade, about 1945, and later the Hunter Mt. Dude Ranch. The property continues its interesting history as the Mountain Top Historical Society.

Hotel Kaaterskill trivia

By Dede Terns Thorpe, Town of Hunter Historian

On June 27, 1881, George Harding opened Hotel Kaaterskill, just eight or nine months after construction began. Elias Dutcher was credited for its completion, opening ahead of schedule.

Important names credited to its construction:

– Architect, S.D. Batton from Philadelphia, PA.
– Master Builder, Elias L. Dutcher from Cairo.
– Lumber and Road, Meech & Dibble from Platte Clove.
– Millwork, Edwin Lampman from Haines Falls. 

This information is credited to the Catskill Mountaineer website.

The original dimensions:

– Main Building: 324’X44′ had four stories.
– Towers: 34X34′ had six levels.
– North & West Wing: 224X42’was four levels
– East Wing: 90X26′ had four levels.
– North Wing: 141X30′ had four stories. (from the end of the East Wing)
– Laundry: was one mile away: 120’X80′. 
– Barn: 240’X32′ (a reasonable distance west of the Hotel).
– Icehouse: 65X30′ (next to the hotel). 

KAATERSKILL HOTEL SOLD – Brooklyn Daily Eagle, January 03, 1922…

“The Hotel Kaaterskill property at Catskill, N. Y., was sold to Dr. Harry Tannebaum of Oak Court, Lakewood, N.J., formerly owner of the Hollywood Lodge, Highmount, N. Y.

This property covers an area of six-hundred acres, comprises a township, and contains the main building, annex, and outbuilding with several lakes. The main building includes one thousand bedrooms, exclusive of other rooms; also bowling alleys, billiard rooms, and numerous recreation rooms. The property consists of a 9-hole golf course, which will be enlarged to an 18-hole course.

The property was initially constructed by day labor in 1882 by George Harding, the leading patent attorney of his time, and cost over one million dollars [today, that’s equal to just under $29 million] to complete. It was necessary to cut through roads and level mountain tops in its erection.”

An impressive accomplishment, even with today’s equipment!

The Great Wall
of Manitou

By Dede Terns Thorpe, Town of Hunter Historian

I’ve shared related articles before, but Manitou seems to be found frequently in different variants and is always a fun and exciting read. Here’s a little bit more.

Unfortunately, the following paper was unsigned… “According to Indian traditions, there was a kind of Manitou or Spirit, who took a mischievous pleasure in wreaking evils and vexations upon the red man. Sometimes he would assume the form of a bear, a panther, or a deer, lead the bewildered hunter a weary chase through the tangled forest and ragged rocks, and then spring off with a loud Ho Ho, leaving him aghast on the brink of a beetling precipice or raging torrent.                                                                                                          

The Indians considered the Catskills the abode of spirits, who influenced the weather, and sending good or bad hunting seasons. They were ruled by an old squaw spirit, said to be their mother. She had charge of the doors of day and night to open and shut them at the proper hour. She hung the new moons in the skies and cut the old ones into stars.”

In 2016, Dr. Robert Titus, a renowned geologist and local resident, wrote about Henry Hudson’s 1609 exploration and discovery of an important landmark, the Hudson River. Titus said Hudson and his crew must have wondered about those mountains as they sailed past them. Dr. Titus noted, “The Catskill Front, or if you like, the Wall of Manitou, is very roughly the Algonquian words for the Wall of God. It is a very striking landscape feature, stretching about ten miles long and extending from Overlook Mt., in the south, to North Point in the north. It is broken twice by sizable cloves. The biggest is Kaaterskill clove; the other is Plattekill clove, and that is only a bit smaller.”

Titus wrote: “To watch as thunderstorms pass over the Catskills is a grand experience. I think that they must have invented thunderstorms just for the Catskills. On clear dry days at Olana (the home built by Artist Edwin Church), the image of the mountains seems to expand; I think the dry air actually magnifies the view. It is always a wonderful panorama at Olana. Church and his family enjoyed it for decades; I envy them that.”

Olana was constructed in 1872 as the home for Edwin Church and his wife. Church was a student of artist Thomas Cole who described Church as “the finest eye for drawing in the world.” Olana had been an old farm, a site where Church and Cole often painted together. Olana is a New York State historic house and museum in Greenport, near Hudson.

Wikipedia tells us that in some Algonquian traditions, Gitcher Manitou refers to a “great spirit” or supreme being. Some Christian groups adopted the word to refer to God. It tells us, “Algonquian religion acknowledges medicine men, who used manitou to see the future, change the weather, and heal illness.” Illness was believed to be caused by magic and spirits.

Just as the name Rip Van Winkle is shared among many businesses in Greene County, so has the name Manitou. The Catskill Escarpment, the Wall of Manitou, is a name proudly shared with numerous other sites in North America. Thanks for reading, and have a great rest of your summer.

Maude Adams
of Hunter, NY

By Dede Terns Thorpe, Town of Hunter Historian

This story shares a bit on the life of one of the fascinating people who lived in the Town of Hunter: Maude Adams, also known as Peter Pan.  Miss Adams lived on the Mountain Top for about forty years. She died in 1953 in a friend’s home on the west side of Tannersville. She was 80 years old.

Maude Adams, known as a gentle and private person, learned that a photograph of her home had been taken and made into postcards. Her home in Tannersville was (is) not far from the main entrance to Onteora Park. It was designed by the famous architect G. A. Reid and was built back off the road. It had several windows looking toward the mountains she so loved. She considered her summer home, her sanctuary, her refuge. She was distressed over her privacy being compromised.

Miss Adams consulted an attorney and learned she’d have to give her permission before anyone could legally enter her property.

She visited souvenir stores in Tannersville, Hunter, and Haines Falls and purchased over one hundred postcards. In the following weeks, she bought all that was available. It quickly became a popular card.

Miss Adams visited the local photographers, but each denied taking a photograph. It took her about a week, but she soon traced the photo’s origin to Harding Showers, an amateur photographer, and a nearby neighbor. As soon as she asked him to discontinue the sale of the photographs, he agreed and gave her the plate. It was quickly destroyed.

Maude prided herself in her excellent relationship with the villagers and did not want to leave her home. The locals adored Miss Adams and respected her desire to live in absolute quiet. Like many prominent people, she continually had to fight for her privacy.

The article noted that Maude Adams had other troubles at that time. It said, “A polish artist is painting her picture as Peter Pan, and it was decided that the background of Artist’s Seat, one of the highest places in Onteora Park, was exactly appropriate to do the painting. Miss Adams, clad in her costume and wearing a long cloak, climbed up the 235 steps to the spot with two pickets (guards) to warn her if anybody approached. As early as half past 8 o’clock in the morning and again at 6 o’clock in the afternoon, the actress tried to pose against the rocks and trees. Every time she was interrupted, however, and at last, a photographer from New York was sent for to take pictures of the background.” (From a New Jersey Morning Call paper, August 10, 1906.)

Miss Adams called the mountains, visible from the crossroads of County Route 25 and 23C, “The Giant Elephants protecting the high peaks.”

A Little More – A continuation of Miss Adams from 1931 (Saugerties Telegraph).


Maude Adams sold her beautiful estate, her summertime home, Cadden Hill (named for a place she had visited in the Scottish Hills), to Phyllis Robbins of Boston. The house sold for $40,000, which included Maude’s extensive, beautiful gardens.  Today, in 2022, that equals $780,000.00.

Hunter High School students go on strike

By Dede Terns Thorpe, Town of Hunter Historian

“Union Free School at Hunter, Catskill Mountains, NY”

From the September 8, 1933 Albany Times Union:


“Protesting against the combining of the Hunter and the Tannersville High Schools, the junior and senior classes of the former school announced their intentions of staying away from classes.” The article said that Sol Meisel was one of the leaders. In 1933, Meisel was a junior at the Hunter School.


The paper said that before the strike began, the kids got together and had an automobile parade through Tannersville. It was not well-received. They heard catcalls and had decayed fruit and vegetables thrown at their automobiles. Meisel said that alone convinced the students not to cross the threshold of the Tannersville school. At least not until they felt they got what they wanted.

Frank Lackey, school board president, said he was equally firm in his standpoint.

Lackey said that the transfer of the schools was done with the state’s approval and that the board wouldn’t move an inch in the matter. If anybody yields, it will be the students, or the state department must reverse its decision. Lackey went on to say that the consolidation was done for economic reasons. He said the problem is two or three troublemakers stirring things up. Lackey believes it will all be ironed out in two or three days.


“The 20 members of the junior and senior class of the Hunter High School out on strike as a protest against the consolidation of their school were to meet tonight with members of the board of education at Hunter High.

The students have refused to attend classes this term because Hunter was merged with Tannersville High School. The situation remains deadlocked, the students declaring they will not return until word is received from the state education in Albany as to whether the consolidation is legal.”

The school board president, Frank Lackey, said the New York State Education Department sanctioned the consolidation. (September 14, 1933, Times Union).


Stamford Mirror September 14, 1933

Board Abandons Merger– SUGGESTED BY THE STATE

It said the situation that challenged the Hunter-Jewett-Lexington Central School Districts and the twenty students on strike was because they did not want to attend Tannersville. Meetings and discussions were held until last May when a special school election with 1,510 ballots was cast. Tannersville’s location won by 114 votes.

It was brought to the public’s attention last week when a local radio station announced the problem. The radio said a protest parade by the Hunter students was met with disapproval. The Hunter students said they’d rather go to Windham, nine miles away. The Village of Hunter taxpayers supported the students.

At a special board meeting, the district decided to reopen the Hunter school and temporarily cancel its plan to have the Hunter students attend Tannersville. They said this added expense would cost about $3000 a year for two extra teachers plus rental space for a temporary high school at Fred Quick’s home in Hunter. The old Hunter high school had already been converted into a grade school.

Hunter residents and students were “bitterly disappointed,” so when school re-opened this past September in Tannersville, the Hunter students were at their desks, but briefly. Some students quit school over the issue. Before long, the Hunter student body walked out. Discussions and meetings were held, with no agreement forthcoming. Finally, acting on the suggestion of Frank P. Graves, NYS Commissioner of Education, the board of education voted to permit the pupils to return to school at Hunter.

It makes one wonder how this situation would have resolved itself today.

The historic Dolan’s Lake in Hunter

By: Dede Terns-Thorpe, Town of Hunter Historian

Dolan’s Lake is just about 100 years old and has a great history. It’s always been fascinating to learn how or where a name originated, whether it be a road or a special place.

Today we’ll share a little information about Dolan’s Lake. It was named after its builder, a lifelong resident of Hunter, Michael Buddington Dolan, the namesake of both Dolan’s Lake and its well-groomed park. The Park also has a memorial that pays tribute to the tragic times of 9-11. Here are a few tidbits about the lake―one loved for its fishing, walking path, swimming, and winter ice-skating. It has been a long-time beloved home of children’s summer camps. 

Above today’s Dolan’s Lake stood the Mountainside Hotel, built in the early 1880s near the Hunter Mountain Ski Bowl Lodge about the time the 1882 Ulster & Delaware Railroad came through Hunter village. Sadly, the hotel burned in 1894. The Klein family later built the Alpine Hotel, just a short distance north/east of today’s lodge at Hunter Mountain. The Alpine later became the Star Hotel in 1937, and then in 1950, it was changed to Topps Hotel. At those times the lake was accordingly named Topps or Star Lake. Dolan’s Lake finally has its proper name back.

The first Hunter Mt. Ski Bowl Lodge (1959-1960) was the “old red barn,” the Alpine, Topps, or Star Hotel. Many of us older skiers remember that first lodge, a fun, informal, relaxing place to spend some time after a full day of skiing.

But now we’re back to Dolan’s Lake.

Mr. Michael B. Dolan, one of the most prominent men in Greene County, died in the Benedictine Hospital from an acute attack of diabetes, according to an untitled 1931 local newspaper.

Mr. Dolan, born in 1861, was one of 16 children. His parents were James and Mary Miller Dolan of Elka Park. He married Lizzie Patricia Lackey, daughter of Michael Lackey, Sr., and Catherine Burke. Michael Dolan later owned and operated the Halfway House (its location was south of 7549 Main Street, approximately), which included the property which would become Dolan’s Lake. Harvesting ice was an important early 20th-century industry, and it was built for that reason. The lake soon became a major supplier to many of the local hotels (pre-refrigeration days).

The waters of Dolan’s Lake start at Shanty Hollow Brook and flow about three miles before meeting the Schoharie. Over many years, flooding repeatedly damaged the lake area and major repairs have brought it to the pristine condition it is in today.

The history of Dolan’s Lake, and its builder, Michael B. Dolan, was found in old newspapers, the 1899 Biographical Review of Leading Citizens of Greene County, from talented Matthew Jarnich, photographer of the American Catskills website, John Ham’s One Hundred Years on “Resort Ridge,” and from long-time Hunter Village resident, Gary Slutzky. Thank you all for sharing your tidbits on Michael Dolan and his popular Hunter Lake.  Like Justine always said, it’s people that make history… and share it. Thanks for reading.

Summer work (and some play) at the Catskill Mountain House 1925

By Bob Gildersleeve

Look at the banner at the top of the page. You can probably recognize that the young women who are in the picture to the left are also in the banner shot. Some of them are in the lower left of the group shot of the workers above. We imagine that that formal group photo was taken early in the summer. By the time this shot was taken, five young women had formed a group of friends and, on off-hours, explored the Kaaterskill Region. They climbed North Mountain by way of Jacob’s Ladder, canoed on South Lake, and may have danced with the fellows in the band that played at the Boat House Pavilion. The young man in the center of this photo may be a band member. All of these photos came from Gracie Guthmann’s 1925 photo album a very unusual donation from Scott Koster. We just don’t know which lady is Gracie. — Is that her holding a camera in a leather case? Yes! photos from her previous summer in Texas identify her. The photos below are also from the 1925 album. We’ll continue to add as we experiment with the tools available in this website format.

couple on boardwalk
The couple is standing on a boardwalk that we believe is near the South Lake boat house and pavilion. The man is most likely a member of the band that played for dances at the pavilion. The woman is Marian Louise Snyder, a friend of Gracie, who took the photo. Thanks to her granddaughter for identifying her. Some of Gracie’s friends were from places in the Hudson Valley including Lake Katrine, Mount Marion and Saugerties. w.
Here’s Gracie with a very engaging smile that her companion seems to have caught. Her friends are not far away; we’ll leave it to you to find them.

Gracie and her roomate (is this Leora Shiels?) get the laundry ready to begin work

Looks like Summer 1925 is just starting and these two new summer hires are dressed for work. They will have some time for play as the photos from Gracie’s 1925 album show us.

Gracie’s Friends:

We don’t know who the friends are in the photos that Gracie saved in her 1924-25 photograph album, but she gave us a hint. Two pages in the album contain the names and home town of several of them. Perhaps someone may recognize the names and may be able to pick out their face in one of the photos from Gracie’s album. (It’s working. As we get definite identification we will boldface the names we can link to the photos.

Here is a list of all those who dated their autograph in 1925:

Rachel A. Merritt — Dunkirk, New York June 3, 1925
Reva L. Morse — 36 Hollister Street, Dundie, New York June 3, 1925
Mildred Strong — South Side, Owego, New York June 4, 1925
Freda J. Randall — Pittsford, Vermont June 5, 1925
Leora B. Shiels — Lake Katrine, New York [Undated Summer 1925] wrote: “Your roommate at Catskill mt. House wishes you best of luck throughout life.”
Beverly M. Schmidt — Mount Marion, New York Sept. 5, 1925
Marian Louise Snyder Saugerties, N.Y. Sept. 5, 1925

The friends explore the trails and sites on South Mountain.
Including the site of the recently destroyed Hotel Kaaterskill which burned in September 1924.

Our adventuresome friends are in Puddingstone Hall on the Circuit of South Mountain trail. The Circuit of South Mountain was a popular trail to the west of the modern trail up South Mountain. It started on the grounds of the Mountain House. Traces of it can still be found. Puddingstone Hall is a crevice through a conglomerate layer similar to the one at Bear’s Den on North Mountain. In many ways, these young ladies are not at all unlike the many hikers who have accompanied us on MTHS hikes.

Climbing Boulder Rock, on South Mountain and also in the photo to the left Gracie, who clings to the side of the rock, Louise Snyder, standing against the rock, and all her friends from elsewhere in time show us that they were an adventuring group. Our hikers can relate to that. Boulder Rock sits on the cliff at the edge of the Catskill Escarpment. MTHS offers hikes in the Kaaterskill region and beyond. Look to our events and hikes page to see the schedule of planned hikes.

Four of our group are at Layman’s Monument on South Mountain above what is now Route 23A near Bastion Falls. Twenty-five years before their visit, and at least five years before any one of these ladies was, born a large forest fire threatened two nearby hotels and several homes in Haines Falls and Twilight Park. The monument recognizes the efforts of a the firemen who saved those businesses and homes including one man who died on August 10 1900 while fighting the fire.

The firefighter who lost his life was Frank D. Layman of Haines Falls. A newspaper report of Mr. Layman’s tragic death using what today we may consider somewhat callus phrases can be seen by clicking Frank Layman tragedy. The link will open in a new tab.

We are in Haines Falls. The placard on the left is advertising the attractions at the Wawanda theater. Until I check other photos to verify where this is I’ll say we are on the north side of the main street looking east toward the top of Kaaterskill Clove. The shadows show that is in the afternoon. We have reason to believe that the girl in the middle is Beverly Schmidt. If so, in 1925 and at about 16 years old she is the youngest of the group of friends. That may explain why in many pictures she seems be apart from the older girls who are about 19. Regardless, Beverly had great success in high school sports and theater at Kingston NY and graduated in 1928.

Click the photo below to read the post.

Carpet from the Catskill Mountain House C. 1900.

Donated by Mrs. R. Kingsland Hay, New York, 1989.

“Dear Justine –

Is this what you were interested in? Carpet from the Mountain House! I was able to salvage enough for 6 dining room chair seats, plus this piece. The rest was too badly worn or stained to use for anything. I think it is very handsome. I also have sentiment for it because my New York grandmother spent her summers there for many years. later she became a widow and loved the place! Love to you & Hillard. Alice H.”