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171 On the northeast corner of Main and North Streets, across from the freshly blessed cornerstone, stood a dilapidated barn and a rusty, retired gas pump. Luckily, the lot and barn belonged to close friends Mildred and Dorothy Donald, who once lived nearby. I never see their former home without remembering their story of the days preceding the birth of their brother. “Our parents never told us how babies came into the world,” they half whispered to me. “So by way of explanation, they placed stork feathers on every windowsill the day that our brother was born.” These delicious spinster sisters, retired teachers, quickly understood my reasons for wishing to acquire their property and wanted me to have it for a token sum. I now would have a strategic location for conjoined­ houses that Carl and Laura Barrett had offered me: an early Harmonist­ two-­ story log ­ house with a ­ mid-­ nineteenth-­ century addition attached to its entire east wall. The relocation was in line with a plan Tom Mumford and I had conceived in the late 1940s. Aware that we lacked resources to ChaptER 19 May Day Dedication of the Roofless Church and Barrett-Gate House 172 New Harmony, indiana restore every vintage ­ house in the village, we decided to concentrate our efforts on North and Granary Streets, saving donated ­ houses through relocation there when we could. Tish and Tom Mumford had already given their Church Street Harmonist ­house to the Colonial Dames. Now genuine Harmonist ­houses would orbit around the central planet of the Roofless Church, an enclosure where all people—of any denomination , any religion, or none—would be welcome. Or would the Church be more like baker’s yeast, an active, essential ingredient in the heavy dough of our humanity? Regardless of how the future would answer the question, construction progressed on the burgeoning Church. Practical matters across the street at the newly acquired lot required immediate attention. I asked Joe McCrudden for a bulldozer and farm crew to remove the sagging barn and level the land. I again sought advice from Don Blair, the engineer who had supervised the construction of the bridge built in 1930, connecting us with Illinois.1 He had fallen in love with both New Harmony and a winsome New Harmony girl, his future wife, Bettie Frances Hooks. Don was an enormous help in the relocation ofthe­glued-­together ­houses—alengthypro­cess,fortheyhadtobemoved separately. No one seemed to mind that power lines would be down during the day, interrupting cake and bread baking. In fact, a holiday spirit took hold. People gathered on sidewalks half a block east of the only traffic light on Church Street and one block north on Main to cheer the­houses on wheels as they rolled past. “History is on the move!” someone shouted. I shouted back, “And we’ll be making history too!” Once he had re­ united the ­ houses on the Donald sisters’ erstwhile lot, Don Blair proved to be an inventive ad hoc architect. He designed the­ two-­ story bay window in the rear of the joined ­ houses to form a passageway between them and converted a dry sink into a wet one between the kitchen and dining areas of the ­nineteenth-­century ­house. I am responsible for the choice of French tiles on the floor of the addition to the original log structure, as I wanted a reminder of childhood summers in France. The floors in the adjoining Harmonist log ­ house did not require replacing: their wide poplar boards responded gratefully to gentle sanding. A carpenter, whom we called “T” because of his tall and thin frame, arrived out of nowhere to make the kitchen cabinets and the paneling around the fireplace. Oval limestone supports for the canopy ­were lowered into position by crane; walls rise around the framed classical balcony in the distance. Photograph by Don Blair, June 29, 1959. Robert Lee Blaffer Trust Archive. Courtesy of the Robert Lee Blaffer Foundation. The Barrett House being moved to its new location across from the Lipchitz gate, 1959. Photograph by Don Blair. Robert Lee Blaffer Trust Archive. Courtesy of the Robert Lee Blaffer Foundation. May Day Dedication of the Roofless Church and Barrett-Gate House 175 Throughout my endeavors, the right people arrived when they ­ were needed, bolstering my belief in a master plan that exceeds what any of us might envision for New Harmony. When I came as a bride, three el­ der­ ly ladies, Mary Fauntleroy, Ena Long, and Laura...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780253016638
Related ISBN
9780253016249
MARC Record
OCLC
903357020
Pages
400
Launched on MUSE
2015-03-20
Language
English
Open Access
No
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