If you have missed our Facebook posts, the McElroy Honeymoon Suite is under a major remodel. Why? Several reasons, but the biggest reason is because we felt the room never flowed with the rest of the house. It has a 1990’s vibe, while the Manor boasted 1850’s (but with electrical and plumbing). Now, it will still have a private entrance off the back of the house, and still have it’s own balcony with sunset views. But there will be no interior access from the main house anymore. That’s a whole other story.
We had been told by two previous owners that there was slave writing on the walls in that room. So, in our mind, we thought there would be a little 2×3 foot section where previous inhabitants had signed their names. Well, as it turns out, there are signatures on every wall, all the way up to the 14-foot ceilings. We were hoping to preserve names that we found, maybe with a shadow box and a picture over the top to cover it. But we just simply cannot keep all 4 walls exposed.
Most of the names are more contemporary, dating in the 1970’s. But there are some writings dated in the 30’s and 50’s. The oldest, that were dated, was the McElroy children and grandchildren in 1876 and 1891.
We put out an open invitation for anyone to come find their signature and resign the wall before it is covered up again for another 30+ years. Steve Smith, signed the wall in 1979, brought his daughter and granddaughter back with him to resign. He also filled in a question mark for us. There was a quote on the wall that we could not understand. “The first Beefale this side of the Mississippi River was born on this farm.” What is a “Beefale?” Turns out, it was “Beefalo.” They coordinated with the Buffalo breeder from CA, shipped semen back east, and had their cow impregnated. And it worked! Steve still has the article with a picture of that calf.
We had a neighbor, Ames Onan and his sister come to sign the wall, as they used to hang out here with the Smith kids all the time. Also, the Baxter granddaughter, Tonya, found where her aunt wrote her name on the wall for her when she was 3, and signed it again.
We were patriotically proud to see an American Flag and ’76 high up on a wall, done by a Tony Smith. He must have had about 12 signatures all over those walls.
There are several other little quotes on those walls from the last century, we truly wish we could have left it open, but it would be very difficult to rent out the room with unfinished walls.
We signed the walls too, along with the staff and contractors working on the room. So, maybe in 50-100 years someone else will find our signatures too.
The room is expected to be completed in March of 2024. Changes include a King Sized bed, a ductless heat pump for heat or AC, removal of the jetted tub, a 2 person tile shower and all of the bathroom facilities will be in their own room. The deck will be modified slightly, and If you would like to be one of the first guests to stay in the “new” room, you can book directly on the Maple Hill Manor website.