Heritage Center offers look into historical homes

Deb Bowman led a historical talk about several of the unique and well-known homes throughout Monticello. The event was held on Feb. 26 at the Monticello Heritage Center. The facility was standing-room-only as people poured in for the evening event. (Photos by Kim Brooks)

Pam Foley shared some history about the S.S. Farwell house that the Norlin family once owned on N. Chestnut Street. She said a flag from the 1800s was found inside the house, a war memento of S.S. Farwell’s.

Joy Adams, who has a wealth of knowledge about the history of Monticello, shared some facts about the town’s founder, Daniel Varvel.
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     It was a packed house on Feb. 26 as residents filled the Monticello Heritage and Cultural Center for what was a fun-filled evening of sharing stories and reminiscing about Monticello’s past.

     The Heritage Center hosted a free event that evening from 6-8 p.m., with board member Deb Bowman ho dove into many of the well-know homes throughout Monticello, homes and styles that span decades from before the Civil War to now.

     With the success of this first event, Bowman said the Heritage Center board has discussed hosting other speaking engagements about historic Monticello businesses, the history of schools, and more.

     Bowman talked about her home (Mike and Deb Bowman) on Crescent Drive, which used to be known as the “Lee Clark home.”

     She said it was built in the 1960s by Dick and Doris Long, who wanted a California-style home.

     “It’s been added on several times,” recalled Bowman.

     Joy Adams, whose husband Jim built several homes in Monticello, shared that the first person to settle in Monticello, Daniel Varvel, owned the property on E. First Street at what is now The Jitney.

     Adams also handed out maps to those in attendance to showcase just how much Monticello and Jones County changed over the decades in terms of development.

     Bowman then had several people step forward to highlight the history of their homes: Pam (Norlin) Foley, Jan Hoag, and Grace and Dale Zimmerman.

     Foley talked about the Farwell house on N. Chestnut Street, where her family once lived. The home was built in 1869 by Stephen Langworthy, and acquired by S.S. Farwell in 1976. The Monticello sesquicentennial book describes the house as “undoubtedly one of the most elegant frame houses in Monticello.”

     What was unique about the house, among many things, was a large library.

     The Farwell house is listed on the National Register of Historic places for its architecture and engineering.

     Foley said Farwell is also credited with building the Civil War soldiers memorial in Oakwood Cemetery.

     Foley also shared that a piece of national history is associated with the Farwell house. A South Carolina palmetto flag, which was one of the first Revolutionary War flags, was found inside the home.

     “It’s believed that the flag was stored in a closet in the house for 50 years,” she said.

     According to the State Historical Society, Mary (Farwell) Carpenter wrote to the Society in April 1910 to inform them of the flag in her possession. In Mary’s letter she states the 12-foot-by-16-foot flag was captured by the 31st Iowa, Company H in South Carolina on Feb. 17, 1865. Carpenter’s father was S.S. Farwell, and captain of Company H.

     “It has always remained in the family and treasured by him as his most valuable and worthy souvenir of the war,” wrote Mary.

     The Norlin family bought the Farwell house in the mid-1970s and took on some renovations at the time.

     In 1996, it was sold.

     Hoag, whose last name is synonymous with the Hoag Duster Factory, talked about the history of the Hoag house on Third Street (now owned by Brian Wolken).

     It was built in 1877, and became known as the “Hoag mansion.”

     Hoag said it was built by John Clark as a Gothic-style home.

     The house was sold in 1881 to F.M. Hicks, and the Hoags bought it from there.

     Hoag said rumor has it, there is an underground tunnel under the home that led from the tunnel to the factory. However, the tunnel is not associated with the Underground Railroad movement.

     In the ‘40s and ‘50s, several rooms in the house were rented out to schoolteachers.

     Hoag said the second-floor outdoor porch was used for entertaining guests.

     “The porch is not part of the original house,” she said.

     The third-floor attic was used as a ballroom.

     The Zimmermans on N. Sycamore Street reside in what is believed to be the home and sanitarium of Dr. Benadom.

     The couple bought the house in the mid-1970s and has since found unique mementos throughout the home.

     Grace said Paul Ladehoff owned the home prior, and did some remodeling.

     “As a kid, when we walked by the house, we walked on the other side of the street,” Grace shared of the odd stories associated with the house.

     When the Zimmermans remodeled, they found newspaper articles and photos about Dr. Benadom and his medical practice. (It is debatable whether the man was a true doctor or not.)

     The original house did not have a two-story porch; that was added in the ‘20s.

     The couple said a number of years ago, they received a knock at their door. It was a relative of Dr. Benadom looking for information on the history of the house.

     Grace said on the north side of the house are two small rooms under the driveway into the basement. She said they were likely used for coal or where Benadom stored his herbs.

     “Our roots are strong here,” concluded Bowman. “I hope you now know more about the community.”



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