Sunday, May 28, 2017

Touring History: The Gen. John Echols House

When my sister and I left The Dransfield Store, we continued on to our next chosen stop on the Monroe Co. (WV) Historic Homes Tour. Back in Union, where we grew up, we visited the General John Echols House. We know it better as "the Boone house." Connie can remember Papa Boone, but I don't. The Dillons and the Maseys are who I remember.

Back in the 1960s, Julia Dillon lived here with her mother, Eunice. Julia was beautiful, probably in her early twenties, and seemingly everything a little girl like me dreamed of being. I vividly remember attending her wedding at the Presbyterian church nearby (not the one in the background - that's the Episcopal church), and walking with many of the other guests to this house, where the reception was held. It was quite exciting to an seven-year-old girl like me when Julia threw her bridal bouquet from the upper porch.

Look what I found in my first scrapbook! It's the article about Julia Dillon's wedding
from our local newspaper, plus the printed napkin from her reception.

Julia had two older sisters: Peggy and Mary Lou. The Sarver girls and us Martin girls have them to thank for a magnificent box of dress-up clothes. Left over from the Dillon girls' heyday in the 50s and 60s (maybe even some from the 40s), there were party dresses, shoes, stoles...everything we needed to boost our imaginations.

JoAnn Sarver on the left, then my sister Connie, Peggy Sarver, and my sister Janie. I'm not in the photo
because I was three months old when it was taken. Not to worry, though. There were plenty of
dress-up clothes left by the time I was old enough to join the fun.

When the Dillons lived there, the house was configured for a small apartment on the side, where the Masey family lived. Many of the neighborhood kids came to play with their only daughter, Karla. They had an above-ground pool in the big side yard, which we all loved.

Now, the house is still a private residence and has been renovated and beautifully decorated. Photography was not allowed inside, which I completely understand, but the shutterbug in me was a bit disappointed. However, it was nice to just drink in the loveliness without trying to get a good shot of everything. It was probably a lot quicker, too!

The house was built in 1846, as noted on the plaque by the front door.

The tour description says that the house is a "two-story Greek Revival with hipped roof and four prominent chimneys."

A framed building on the property is believed to have been servant quarters. There used to be an old garage in the back...I'm wondering if it's still there, and if that is the building referred to. There is a marker that explains the historic significance of the house:

Inside this grand old house, there are high ceilings, hardwood floors, a grand staircase, and at least ten rooms, not counting bathrooms. The furnishings and art are gorgeous - definitely magazine-worthy - but even so, there are family photographs, books by the bed, and spices in the kitchen cupboard, all signs that it's still a home, after all.

A few years ago, I wandered around Union with my camera one evening and came home with these photos.

There is something about stately old houses that inspires awe and homey comfort, all at the same time. The General John Echols house is one of those. I'm grateful it has a place in my memories of a mid-century childhood, and grateful for the opportunity to see it in all it's restored glory.

Next stop on our tour: The Major John A. Wallace Cottage...just wait til you see it!!

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