Catherine Julie Durm – Interview

Bradlee-McIntyre house in its original location in Altamonte Springs in 1957. Photo from Florida State Archives.

The following is a “conversation” between Longwood Historic Society member Marla Pickelsimer and Catherine Julie Durm whose grandmother was Mrs. McIntyre’s seamstress. She has been an invaluable “first hand” source of information regarding Mrs. McIntyre.

From Messenger on Facebook September 3, 2017

Catherine Julie Durm

Catherine: My grandmother was Mrs. McIntyre’s seamstress.

Marla: …….Is there a time you could come to the house and talk to us?

C: I live in Daytona. My Dad is in Altamonte, so when I’m in town again, I could message you.

M: …..looking forward to talking to you.

C: My mom was Mary Jane Nicholas and grandmother Blanch Smith–donated one of the beds and a painting to the house that used to be Mrs. McIntyres

M: I knew about the bed, but not the painting. Do you know which picture?

C: I think it had dead ducks on it? It’s been a long time.

M: There is a painting like that in one of the parlors.

C: :thumbsup:

M: Let me know when anything else comes to mind……

C: Well. Mom said Mrs. McIntyre had trouble keeping help because of rumors that the house was haunted. But it was just the house settling. For example there was an African-American cook who saw the refrigerator slide from one side of the kitchen to the next. Mom said when she was a little girl she was sleeping in one of the bedrooms and heard footsteps on the stairs she said “dad is that you” and the doors swung open to her bedroom, no one was there. Her dad said it was just the house settling. He was Mrs. McIntyre’s handyman and painter. When Mrs. McIntyre was sick my grandmother took care of her. Mrs. McIntyre didn’t know about the secret passageway (Or as my mom called it the secret room) until my grandfather was working on a dresser in the closet and removed the drawers to find it. Mrs. McIntyre gave my mom etiquette lesson and how to give a proper tea. Mrs. McIntyre loved to entertain all the prestigious guests who visited the Altamonte Inn. Too bad I don’t remember all the names other than a grandchild of Ulysses S Grant. My mom had the cradle Mrs. McIntyre bought for the baby to sleep in, but Mom sold it long ago.

M:…..secret passage on third floor….friend played there…. I think Mrs. McIntyre was from the Kellogg family and her husband owned the Altamonte Hotel ….Ulysses Jr….Mrs. Bradlee.

C: Well when a house settles my mom said it makes the floor uneven so that is why the refrigerator slide across the floor. The same with the doors. Mrs. McIntyre was well off, but the person who managed her money (when she was a widow) lost a lot of it in the stock market. Mom said she believed that Mrs. McIntyre was in love with him but refused to marry him because he was not well off enough. Mrs. McIntyre was told by her mother “it just as easy to fall in love
with a rich man as a poor one.”

M: Ghost hunter….Ulysses Jr’s children….how long a widow?

C: No one rings a bell. No don’t know how long. She would sit on the porch with him often (her financial guy)