Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Ilion Party: Post 4 of 5

We're headed toward the end, now, of the 57 photographs taken on the evening of April 13, 1955, during the last big party at Smith H. and Annie Mallory's legendary Ilion --- also known as Mallory's Castle. The widowed Annie and her daughter, Jessie Mallory Thayer, emptied the mansion of their belongings and moved to Florida in 1909. They had turned all of their Lucas County assets over to the receiver of First National Bank, bankrupted in 1907 by their trusted associate, Frank Crocker. The women and Lucas County did not part friends.

The partnership of Eikenberry & Busselle purchased the 900-plus acres of Mallory land that extended north from the house and its grounds, then for many years used the mansion to house farm managers and workers. Eventually, the house became uninhabitable and was deteriorating when C. Otto Brown purchased the estate in 1949 from the estates of William A. Eikenberry and Luther H. Busselle. 

Brown made extensive repairs to the house and tenants occupied it from 1950-1954. The color schemes and much of the wallpaper date from that time period.

In 1954, however, Ott Brown died and his heirs decided to demolish the house and develop the Ilion Acres subdivision on its grounds. Demolition began within days of this party, which was followed by a public open house on April 17.

Earlier photos have depicted the early part of the April 13 party, which also celebrated Rotary International's 50th anniversary.

After socializing and touring the house, guests lined up for box suppers which were taken to tables scattered through the four principal first-floor rooms. The last set of photos, which I'll post tomorrow, depict the final event of the evening --- a program followed by dancing in the big southwest parlor.

If you can help out by identifying some of the people in these photographs, please do so by commenting on either the blog post or Facebook or directly via e-mail.

Photo No. 33 (top): Around the undertaker's body transport basket in the Ilion basement. Second from left, Joe Golliet.

Photo No. 34: Gathered around the pump organ in the front hall for a song. Left foreground, Melvin Brown; Brace Owings, far right. Ruth Smith is the organist; her husband, Edmund E. Smith (red bow tie), is standing behind her.

Photo No. 35: Putting down place mats in the former library. Brace Owings in the foreground.

Photo No. 36: Also in the former library. Joe Hixenbaugh on the right.

Photo No. 37: Line-up for box suppers along the east wall of the dining room. Buzz Dunn on the far left; Charles F. Wennerstrum, center with vest.

Photo No. 38: More of the line-up for supper (from left): John Neighbour, Dr. Everett L. Davis, two unidentifieds, Curt Yocom, two unidentifieds, Gov. Leo Hoegh.

Photo No. 39: A supper group in the southwest parlor (it's unlikely pink and blue was the original color scheme here).

Photo No. 40: More diners in the southwest parlor.

Photo No. 41: Supper in the former library.

Photo No. 42: Mary Louise Hoegh cuts the Rotary birthday cake.

Photo No. 43: Serving the birthday cake.

The bare bulb in the dinning room --- and other inconveniences --- resulted from the fact that thieves broke into the Ilion during the week prior to the party and stole light fixtures and other portable decorative elements (including tiles from the dining room fire place). If your grandpa was among the thieves, I do know what they looked like.

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