Saturday, June 12, 2021

A good week for homecomings at the museum

I wrote earlier in the week about the May School teacher's desk that returned to Lucas County and a new home at the Historical Society Museum last Saturday. A few days later, this lovely lady arrived from New England courtesy of Judith Fisher McManus, her custodian since leaving Chariton.

The allegorical figure on the brass medallion, mounted on black walnut, once was inset as a decorative element in a metal "summer screen," used to cover the opening when not in use of one of the fireplaces in Ilion house, the mansion of Smith H. and Annie Mallory. The current assembly is about a foot in diameter.

It probably dates from ca. 1879-81, when the house was built; and was removed in 1955 when Judith's mother, Margaret E. Fisher, purchased it at a sale of elements of the building salvaged as the house was being demolished. She had the medallion restored and mounted for display.

The plaque traveled to New England with Judith after the deaths of her parents, Margaret E. (1912-1971) and Dr. Merriam C. Fisher (1909-1975).

I've written a number of times about Ilion house (also known as Mallory's Castle), in its time one of the grandest homes in the south of Iowa, part of the 1,000-acre  Brooke Farm estate. You'll find a chronology of the Mallory story here, if interested.

The estate was sold during 1909 to William A. Eikenberry and Luther E. Busselle after the widowed Annie Mallory and her daughter, Jessie, signed the property over to the government as partial settlement of claims resulting from the 1907 collapse of their bank, First National.

The property, including the mansion, was sold again in 1949 to C. Otto Brown to settle the Eikenberry and Busselle estates. Upon his death five years later, the Brown heirs decided in 1955 to demolish the old house and develop a subdivision, Ilion Acres, in its former park.

The Fishers purchased the subdivision lot that contained the footprint of the old mansion and built their new home there (now the Pepping house), and for about 20 years, the lady was displayed there, very close to her original location.

1 comment:

Laudata VT said...

So happy to have the Illion plaque nearer to where it was the vision of the original designer and owners. Thanks to Frank for facilitation the journey! Judith Fisher McManis