Wednesday, February 12, 2020

The Rooms Come and Go

"In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.
" ~ T. S. Eliot
Architectural Ceiling Detail
Fowler House Mansion ~ Lafayette, Indiana

"I suppose a room is the summation
of all that has happened inside it."
"Yes, I think it is," agreed the Count. "And though I'm not exactly sure what has come of all the intermingling in this particular room, I am fairly certain that the world has been a better place because of it." (331)

by Amor Towles
from A Gentleman in Moscow

I was so excited to receive this marvelous, mysterious old - time postcard a few months ago from my friend Victoria, who lived right here in town back in the 1970s. It's not often that a pen pal from far away sends you a postcard from your own city! [Vickie, have you been saving this card for me in your archives all these years?]
This one, as you can see, features
the "Wetherill Memorial Room
Tippecanoe County Historical Museum."

I had a feeling that the featured room must be a part of what is commonly referred to as the Fowler House, even though that name does not appear on the postcard caption. Hoping to verify the picture, I googled "Wetherill Room" to see if it came up as a room in Fowler House or maybe as a room in some other local historical mansion. No luck, but guess what did come up -- a copy of this vintage (1930s) postcard for sale on eBay for $10. So it looks like I owe Vickie some money!

Last month, when Gerry and I went for Sunday Brunch at the Fowler House, I took along the postcard in hopes of matching it to one of the rooms. An easy quest indeed, since it turns out we were sitting in the very room!

Same Fireplace

Same Chandelier

The only significant difference is the lace - curtain now hanging over the window, rather than the heavy wooden shutters seen in the post card; partially obscured behind an oriental screen, they nearly resemble a door.

It was a successful day of exploration at the Fowler House, checking out the upper rooms for friendly ghosts, enjoying a post - Christmas buffet with neighbors, and comparing the contemporary Wetherill Room to my archival postcard. Thanks Victoria!
"Gathering up his things, the Count paid one last visit to his study. So many years before, he had bid adieu to a whole household. Then a few years later he had bid adieu to a suite. Now, he was to bid adieu to a room that was one hundred feet square. It was, without question, the smallest room that he had occupied in his life; yet somehow, within those four walls the world had come and gone." (438)

by Amor Towles
from A Gentleman in Moscow


Brunch at Fowler House ~ Autumn 2018

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