cottage. They must have been having more fun than they let on in this
Also, even though this means very little, I am quite sure that Charles Ayres purchased Rockgirt from RPH. I looked at it to by it from him probably in the early 1960's, but thought it was too remote for small children and needed too much work. I did, however, buy Mrs. Marble's easel for my mother - I think for $25. Mom used it to paint on, as she was also an artist.
Tom and Mary Beth Schoonover live there now and use it as a bed and breakfast.
Rockgirt, Part of Fabulous Minnequa Story, Being Restored by Mrs. Reedy
By Suzanne Davis
[Scrapbook Clipping - undated]
In a copy of the official hymnal of the Methodist Church copyrighted in 1932, Brooks and Redner are given credit for the lyrics and melody of "O Little Town of Bethlehem."
According to "World Book Encyclopedia", Brooks was well known for his "eloquence, charming personality and tolerant views." He could deliver a sermon at the rate of 250 words per minute and could sing 200 hymns from memory, the Sullivan Review story asserted. He was a huge man, 6’6", and "his writings raised the eyebrows of many a staid theologian."
So, this was the first master of "Rockgirt."
|" This shows a back view of Rockgirt soon after it was built. since then a green shingled addition has been built onto the left end of the house."||Bishop Phillips Brooks (center) and his brother, Dr. Arthur Brooks (left) and the latter Brooks' wife, relax on the porch of Rockgirt, their summer home. congratulations to anyone who can figure out what the man leaning against the house represents."|
In January 1893, Phillips Brooks, "the distinguished Episcopalian of Boston, Mass., died of heart failure," according to a brief news story in the Sullivan Review.
Brooks’ brother, Arthur apparently held on to "Rockgirt" until 1908 when it was purchased by another unusual man, Louis Mills Marble, son of a high official in President Hayes’ administration, came to Canton and was admitted to practice in the Pennsylvania Courts. However he never followed that profession in Canton. In 1894 he married Flora Lewis, daughter of Mrs. Emma Lewis of Canton who erected the Lewis Opera Building in that borough.
In 1897, while recuperation from an illness at Canton, Marble began to design machines for the construction of a combined coat and trouser hanger he had patented. His work led to the establishment of Belmar Manufacturing Company, which was incorporated in 1898. He also organized the Belmar Hose Company in 1908 and he and his wife established the Community Nursing Service and Community Health Center in Canton, both of which were largely maintained by their generosity.
After purchasing "Rockgirt" the Marbles remodeled the home and made it a year-round residence. They added additional land and had an extensive apple orchard planted.
(One day one of Mr. Marble’s workmen brought his niece, Marjorie Palmer, to "Rock Girt." The little girl stood in the kitchen, disappointed that the huge house should have such a small unimpressive kitchen. On that visit, she did not see any rooms other than the kitchen.)
Mr. Marble lived at "Rockgirt" until his death in 1944. He was described as "one of Canton’s most illustrious citizens" in a copy of the Canton Sentinel.
His wife continued to live at "Rockgirt" until about 1950 when she moved to a smaller home on Minnequa Heights. Mrs. Marble is reputed to have bought the entire Minnequa hills and its homes at one time and then gradually resold it piece by piece. Mrs. Marble was an unusual person in her own right, being an artist and avid photographer. Some of her photographs and equipment is still at "Rockgirt."
At her death, Mrs. Marble willed "Rockgirt" and all furnishings, many of them antiques, to Robert Packer Hospital. Her husband had been a member of the hospital’s board of trustees.
|"This shows a view of the front of Rockgirt as it is today. Part of the back addition mentioned before is visible here at the right."||This is the legendary study of Bishop Brooks, from which legend tells, he wrote "O Little Town of Bethlehem," while gazing out the window at the lights of Canton below him." [This legend was proven false because of the dates by Eleanor Parsons Keagle]|
In 1960, Marjorie Palmer Cummings Reedy returned to "Rockgirt" which had stood empty for 10 years at the urging of her daughter. This time she saw the entire house and fell in love with it.
She and her husband, Sanford, bought the house from Robert Packer Hospital and 31 acres of land, which includes a pond, forested acres and the apple orchard.
Acutely aware of the history of the house and the surrounding land of Minnequa, Mrs. Reedy set out to restore "Rockgirt" to the same period in which it was built. Now, nine years later, the energetic woman is still working at the restoration project, which has taken her and her husband to countless antique sales in this area and to some at a greater distance.
"Rockgirt" has eight fireplaces, the downstairs is paneled in beautiful wood, and with the exception of the attic and a couple other rooms, the ceilings are all beamed. Several window seats are found throughout the house.
Other than installing a new furnace and developing plans to move the
kitchen to an adjoining room, Mrs. Reedy has not changed "Rockgirt" a great
deal – except for the furnishings.
|"This is the master bedroom. There is a small dressing room, bathroom and an enclosed porch adjoining the bedroom. The porch offers a beautiful view of the 31 acres of the Rockgirt property."||Mrs. Reedy sits on one of the many window seats in Rockgirt, this one
being her "Red Room." The dolls next to Mrs. Reedy are two of the
several that she has made."
When the Reedy’s moved in, they brought her furniture from her home in Canton. Gradually, Mrs. Reedy found antique furniture to replace the modern furniture she had in her other house.
"Rockgirt" has continued its tradition of housing unusual people. The Reedy’s maintain an unbelievable number of hobbies. They are collectors of carnival glass, sterling silver spoons, and bottles.
Mrs. Reedy makes dolls – clothes and bodies both, and sells them along with her ceramics at five outlets including French Asylum and one in New Jersey. One of her husband’s hobbies also earns him a market. He makes grandfather clocks. He makes the cabinets and installs the clock works, which he buys in Germany. Together, they keep bees and sell the honey) Mrs. Reedy uses the wax to make candles and they sell old-fashioned spies from their apple orchard.
Mrs. Reedy makes dried flower pictures, does metal work, makes jewelry, does embroidery, appliqués pillows, sings and paints in oils and water colors.
The Reedy’s work together on upholstering and refinishing the antique furniture they acquire for the house, and do their papering and painting. Mr. Reedy also paints in whatever spare time he finds.
But her favorite and most time-consuming project is restoring the house, which she has done in striking detail. The fixtures in both bathrooms are the originals. The bedrooms are complete to the point of chamber pots being placed by the antique beds.
Bishop Brooks’ study has been completely restored, as has most of the other rooms in the house except for one room adjoining Mrs. Reedy’s Red Room and the kitchen, which she plans to move and restore with appropriate fixtures and appliances.
Mrs. Reedy’s explanation for her ambitious project is that she wanted to be an interior decorator when she was younger.
Mrs. Reedy says she has many visitors who ask to go through the house. They usually return with friends who want to see "Rockgirt."