June 26, 2021 – Ceremony at the Bradlee-McIntyre House to Celebrate the Coming Home of the first piece of original furniture to find its way back to the museum!
What an exciting morning for the Longwood Historic Society!
One month ago, we were contacted by Paul Farr of the Athens Georgia Habitat for Humanity. They received an anonymous donation of an antique piece of furniture. Upon closer research, it was a washstand, which was originally part of a larger suite of bedroom furniture. The piece was created by Foster & Company, located in what is now Chinatown in New York, from the mid-1880s.
It was shipped to Nathan J. Fogg in Altamonte Springs in 1888, for owner Nathaniel Bradlee. While most residents of Altamonte Springs at the time only lived here during the winter months (including the Bradlee family), Fogg was one of the few full-time residents of Altamonte. He was the caretaker for the Bradlee home, as well as many other properties, while their wealthy owners were back in Boston for the summer.
This washstand, along with the larger suite, arrived by train in 1888 and placed under the care of Fogg. He delivered the bedroom suite to the home, as part of the very first furniture after the Bradlee-McIntyre House‘s construction.
If you don’t know the story already, this lovely home (along with the Inside-Outside House) was part of a stately set of “cottages” for these northern residents. It was in the old center of Altamonte Springs, near the intersection of Maitland Avenue and 436 today. It was adjacent to the old Altamonte Hotel.
By the 1960s many of these homes had already been destroyed or were in terrible shape. The Bradlee-McIntyre House (once referred to as the Grant House) was in terrible shape and set to be set on fire for practice by the local fire department. Local residents, like Grace Bedford, of Longwood stepped up and were determined to save it!
They formed the Longwood Historic Society in 1969. Their forward-thinking for historic preservation was uncommon during that time, and they were relentless in their determination. It took four years of political maneuvering and fundraising, but finally, the Bradlee-McIntyre House and the Inside-Outside House were picked up and moved to Longwood in 1973. Because of the heroic efforts of our founding members, these are the only of these cottages to survive. Bedford donated the lot which the house sits on today.
Since that time, the Society has lovingly and painstakingly restored and maintained these properties (in addition to the Historic Civic Center). Our predecessors took them from a near-condemned mess to a pristine recreation of their former glory.
Inside of the Bradlee-McIntyre House (open for tours by our docents), you will feel like you have stepped back 100 years in time. Inside are many period pieces that have been donated over the years. We have some furniture original to the McIntyre Family, who lived there after the Bradlees.
However, we have not had any furniture original to the first days of the home in 1888. UNTIL NOW. The Bradlee family lived her during the winters from 1888-1904. This lovely and well-maintained item was part of that original package when the home was first constructed.
It is so incredibly amazing that this ancient chest of drawers has served in such good condition over the years. It’s so crazy that the label on the back survived, without which we would never have been able to trace its lineage. And that it fell into the hands of folks like Paul Farr and Habitat for Humanity, who care enough about history and the community, to not only donate this item but to PERSONALLY drive it down to deliver it to us to ensure its safety in transit.
We are so excited to welcome it to our collection. There is a mystery of where it has been all of these years and how it ended up in Athens, Georgia that we hope to research and solve for. There is a glimmer of hope that, if this piece survived so lovingly cared for, perhaps some of the sister pieces from the suite are still out there!
Thank you to everyone who made this happen and to all of the local dignitaries and society members who came out this morning!