JOHN KROM RUDD
Transcript of a taped Interview
Narrator: John K. Rudd
Tape: #15 A&B
Date: July 6, 1982
Place of interview: Mr. Rudd’s home, Holleywood, Main St., Lakeville, CT Interviewer: Ethel Thrall.
Mr. Rudd is the great grandson of Governor Alexander H. Holley. He spent his summers at the family home, Holleywood, in Lakeville until 1972, when he moved here permanently. He speaks of his Holley and Rudd ancestors, of his memories of the town and of some of his father’s experiences as a youth growing up in Lakeville.
September 15, 2001. Addenda: Notes prepared by Mr. Rudd and his father, Charles, taken from the diaries of Alexander H. Holley describing the building of Holleywood. Included is the account of the modernization of the house. There is also genealogical information about the family.
Property of the Oral History ProjectSalisbury Association at Scoville Memorial LibrarySalisbury, CT 06068
This is Ethel Thrall interviewing John Rudd at Holley- wood in Lakeville, Connecticut. Now, I want a little bit about your history.
JR: Well, before I start on the history, let me give you a current bit of history. I got up at 1:30 this morning, again at 2:30, to watch the total eclipse of the moon because it is the longest total eclipse that we have had by some two seconds since 1859. It was a beautiful clear night and an unusual chance to watch it. So we did.
One of the questions I am most often asked, since I moved to Lakeville, is why the house is called Holleywood when my name is Rudd and it is a family home. The answer is that my ancestors in Lakeville are all named Holley, spelled with an ‘E’, and the house was built, as probably everyone knows, by Governor Alexander Holley shortly before he became Governor. His daughter, Maria Coffin Holley, who was born in 1842, married William Beardslee, swelled B-E-A-R-D-S-L-E-E, Rudd on June?,1865. That was how the Rudds and the Holleys got together and why my name is Rudd but my grandmother’s name, you see, was Holley.
Grandfather Rudd was born in 1838 and died on January 9. 1901, during my father’s senior year at Yale. But Grandmother continued to live in Lakeville until 1914 and died on March 25th of that year when she was on a visit to my parents’ house in Ashville, North Carolina. Grandfather William Rudd and his wife had five children. The first was Alexander Holley Rudd who was born in March 1867, and married Theoline Banker Oliver in November 1888. The second child was Fanny Rudd who was born in May I869, and married Martin Contine of Saugerties, New York in June 1890. She died in 1936. Holley, by the way, died in 1949.
The third child was George Robert Rudd who was born in November 1872, but died in March 1877. He was remembered only by Alexander Holley Rudd who remembered him when he was a baby. The fourth child, Malcolm Day Rudd, was born in April 1877 and married Eva Cook in 1904. Malcolm died January 21, 1942. The fifth child was my father, Charles Edward Rudd, who was born January 2, 1881. On April 25, 1905 he married my mother, Emma Sands -S-A-N-D-S- Rees -R-E-E-S-, who was born July 16, 1884. Dad died January 10, 1950, and Mother on April 17, 1955. I was their only child. I was born in Ashville, North Carolina on January 19, 1917.
I remember a number of anecdotes that Dad used to tell about his boyhood because he was a Lakeville boy until he was fully grown. Some of these might be of interest. He was seven years old at the time of the blizzard of 1888 and remembered that the snow in front of the house had drifted up to the window sills of the second floor hall and they had to tunnel to get out the front door. The railroad at that time ran through what might be called our back yard. There was a deep cut there in order to provide for a bridge which we used to get back and forth to the lake to bring ice to the ice house – that sort of thing – and the cut, according to Dad had drifted full. So it was a week before they could get it dug out and get a train through to Millerton.
Dad was alive at the time that Governor Holley was still living, although the Governor died when Dad was only six. They used to call them the twins because Great grandfather Holley used to take Dad on his knee and tell him stories. They were reasonably inseparable when Dad was a very young boy.
In listing the dates of Dad’s brothers and sister, you might not have noticed that there was a close age between Malcolm and my father, Malcolm being only four years older. But Fanny, his sister, was twelve years older and Alexander Holley Rudd, who was always known as Holley, was fourteen years older, so that there was nearly a generation difference between my father, the youngest, and Holley, the oldest. In fact, Holley’s oldest son, Bill, was only four years younger than my mother. As a result Bill’s children, who are my first cousins once removed, are my age.
ET: Well, it happens.
JR: And caused many questions.
Dad lived at Holleywood from shortly after he was born until he was married in 1905. When he was a school boy he went to the Academy in the younger years and to Hotchkiss when he was high school age. In those days local boys could go to Hotchkiss at no charge.
Dad used to describe a typical school day as getting up at about 4:30, going down to the barn to milk the several cows that they had and feed the horses and the chickens and the hogs and drive the cows up to what’s called the upper farm on Belgo where Theodore Rudd now lives. Then he would walk back home and have his breakfast and walk to Hotchkiss for his day at school. When school was over he would walk back home…
ET: And exhausted…
JR: – I would be, too – He would walk home and go back up to the upper farm and collect the cows and drive them home and do whatever cleaning of the stalls and things were necessary and have
his supper and do his lessons by oil lamp or candlelight and go
to bed in order to get some sleep so he could get up at 4:30 the next morning. I don’t think I could have survived one such day as that.
ET: No, that was something wasn’t it? Well, they had stamina in those days, I guess. I don’t know what it is.
JR: That was what bred sturdy Yankees.
My mother’s family, the Rees’, lived in New York where her father was Professor of Astronomy in Columbia University.
ET: That is where you get astronomy?
JR: That’s where I get my astronomy.
He was the man who worked out all the standard time zones around the world. The French made him a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor in recognition.
They used to rent a house in Lakeville, sometimes for the summer, and for two or three years rented what was then called the Harrison house.
In 1904 Mother and her family were living up there and she had met Dad probably the summer before that, but at any rate she and Dad became engaged on the front porch of that house before she went back to New York for the winter in the late summer of 1904. They were married in New York on April 25, 1905. I felt a personal glow when the front porch of the house was torn off when the Walshes bought it, but I must admit it improved the appearance of the house a great deal.
ET: What memories!
JR: What memories, right. When Mother and Dad were first married they lived here in Lakeville but not in Holleywood. They lived in what Dad called the East Mead Cottage which is the house that, subsequently belonged to Malcolm Rudd and now is known
as the Demarest Apartments down almost next to the Holley – Williams House. At the time it was separated from the Holley- Williams House by the Gateway Inn which was a large wooden structure, as I remember from my boyhood.
Dad did considerable surveying around the town shortly after he was married as he had taken an engineering degree in Yale and learned surveying as part of that. One of the things that he did, perhaps of special interest, was to survey the Ore Hill mine which was difficult because the iron ore was magnetic and made it impractical to use a compass. Everything had to be done by difference of angle and use of a transit. This was not easy when he was surveying the underground tunnels. We had a map of all the tunnelssof the mine based on his survey. He found at the time, had they dug another 100 feet or so in one direction they would come into the bottom of the pond and drown themselves out. So he prevented that.
His first engineering job after getting out of Yale in 1901 was to install, in 1904, the water turbine that used to run the grindstones and the machinery at the Holley Manufacturing Co., the knife factory that my great grandfather founded in 1844, and which at the moment houses the Lakeville Journal offices. There used to be a water wheel and that was taken out and replaced by the much more efficient turbine. Some of the family photographs show the excavations and the work of installing the turbine in 1904.
After that Dad joined the family business on Mother’s side of the family, called the Hans Rees Sons which had headquarters in New York and the leather tannery in Ashville, North Carolina. For the first year or so with the company, Mother and Dad lived
in East Orange on Ralston Street. Then in 1910, I believe, he was transferred to Ashville to assume managership of the tannery there.
The manager of the tannery at that time was one of my mother’s five uncles, named Arthur F. Rees, and typical of his close involvement with the work of the tannery, he wore a cutaway to work every day. A tannery is not the pleasantest place to work and I daresay he usually stayed in his office. I remember him as being a rather heavyset man on the order of President Taft, with a rather bushy mustache and side burns, and always wearing a winged collar whether accompanied by cutaway or not. His wife was very tall and straight and slim and always wore floor-length black dresses, and I was scared to death of her.
The reason Dad was transferred to Ashville was that Uncle Arthur, who was somewhat of a socialite, had become friendly with the Vanderbilts who had built Biltmore House in Ashville. As a result, Uncle Arthur was invited to go pheasant shooting at the Vanderbilt estate occasionally and mingled with a crowd of that kind of people. Once a year he and his wife would feel it necessary to repay their social obligation by throwing a large party which usually cost about three times Uncle Arthur’s annual salary, and this caused problems. He had gotten very much into debt, and the reason Dad was sent to Ashville to assume managership was so that the Rees family could ship Uncle Arthur off to Europe while settling up his debts.
As I mentioned he was one of five boys and they also had a sister, Aunt Josephine. All six of them were over six feet tall, which was unusual in the middle 1800’s. When Uncle Arthur
was in New York about to depart for Europe he was talking with
his sister and just convinced that he would not live to come home. He said, “I just know it, Joe, I won’t make it. I’ll come home in a box.” She looked at him and said, “Don’t do it, Arthur, Be cremated.” That was the sympathy he got from her.
Dad continued as manager with some success and was especially busy the summer before I was born in 1916. In July 1916, very heavy rains occurred and a large dam up in the mountains burst with the result that there was a very bad flood in Ashville, which almost totally washed away the tannery and caused major damage otherwise, including washing out the railroads and so on. Dad managed to get the tannery rebuilt and into operation by October of that year, and had just about resumed operation when a German spy set fire to the place and burned up about half of it because, of course, at that time it was in the middle of World War I. Dad got the tannery going again by around Thanksgiving and the company gave him a very nice present at Christmas in appreciation of his work.
I was born in January and Dad had not only the tannery worries, but worry about how all of his extra overtime and that sort of thing was affecting my mother, and wondering whether I would really arrive on the scene or not.
One other anecdote about the tannery. It was situated in Ashville because of the large amounts of oak and spruce trees whose bark was used for making the tanning liquor to tan the leather. Once a year they would operate the grinding machine which was like a present-day high-speed brush chopper to grind the bark to make the tanning liquor. The night before they were to start this process one
year. Dad woke up about three
o’clock in the morning, having had a very vivid dream that if they started the bark mill that day the operator would be killed because there would be found a crack in the rotor of the grinding. The dream was so vivid that Dad immediately called the master mechanic at the plant and told him to be sure that they did not start the barking under any circumstances, and that Dad would be down early and wanted it completely disassembled in his presence to see if it was all right. Dad got there early and the mechanics disassembled the mill, and sure enough there was a crack in the rotary exactly where he had dreamed it was, and had they started the mill it would have exploded and killed the operator.
As I had mentioned earlier, I was born in Ashville and I lived there until I was eighteen. Going to private schools for the most part since the public schools in town in those days, were not adequate to allow you to get into high school or later a college if you wanted to. I had been entered at Hotchkiss from the day of my birth because my father went there and his brother, Malcolm, was in the first graduating class of Hotchkiss.
ET: Oh, he was? Marcia didn’t say that.
JR: So I was told. In the meantime, the Ashville school, which had been a boys’ preparatory school for some years, had been taken over by the ex-headmaster of the Hill School and was an excellent school only eight miles from home, so it seemed foolish to ship me all the way to Lakeville and back every year when I could get equivalent education across town. The result was that I went to Ashville School instead of Hotchkiss. I always, however, spent my summers in Lakeville.
I think there has never been a time that our house, Holley-
wood, has been occupied by anyone outside the family except possibly for one summer. It was sometimes rented out to other members of the family but almost always Mother and Dad and I would come up to Lakeville during the summer. Mother and I usually coming up in July and going back in September and Dad coming up for his annual vacation in August.
In those days there was good train service in the United States and we always took the train from Ashville to Lakeville. Mother and I and, generally, a cook and a maid — because servants were not expensive in the South and we would bring two up with us for the summer — would get on the train in Ashville around 5 o’clock in the afternoon. Dad always had a drawing room for us, and the two servants shared a section outside because they had to have their meals sent back since blacks were not served in the dining room at that time.
We would arrive in Washington around breakfast time and, as I remember it, I usually used the time that the train was standing in the station in Washington for getting dressed, because I was not adept at standing on one foot on a moving train while trying to get my pants on. We would have breakfast just after leaving Washington and arrive in New York around noon. Then we would take a taxi from the Pennsylvania Station where the train came in to Grand Central, and usually have lunch at the Commodore Hotel. Then we would get the 3 o’clock train to Lakeville, having got all our baggage and everything checked through, and Abe Martin would meet us in the car when we arrived at Millerton about 6.
Mother would have arranged beforehand for someone in Lakeville to have opened the house enough for us to stay there and
to have fixed a supper for us when we arrived. Dad retained a gardener. The first that I can remember was named Mike Moore, and he was followed by John McCarthy. They would usually have planted a vegetable garden so that we would have corn and peas and carrots and parsley and lettuce and those good things, fresh, for the summer. Mike or John would have gotten the yard in shape and things like that.
But the house had been closed since the previous September each year and one of the first things we had to do was to glue back the wallpaper. It would come loose when the walls per- with spired in the spring because/the thick walls it was cooler inside than out and a lot of condensation occurred. The house wasn’t lavishly furnished. In fact, it was primarily hooked rugs and wicker furniture because we used it only in the summertime. I didn’t know any people my age in Lakeville because of only being here for a few weeks each summer, but Dad’s brothers and sister and their children were always in town and it was sort of a family reunion affair. Every summer we’d have family picnics and get-togethers and all that kind of thing, so I really didn’t too much miss having companions my own age. I used to like to go swimming, and Dad and I used to go fishing quite often. There was always something to do. We used to get in the car and go over with a picnic supper to Silver Mountain just south of Millerton. Or we would climb Bald Peak or we would go to Bash Bish Falls, and it was always a fun summer. Then Dad would go back after his vacation. Mother and I would stay until the beginning of September to close up the house for the winter, and then we would leave in time for me to get back to school in Ashville.
In those days we didn’t have vandalism in the town. If we went away and happened to have left a rake in the front lawn went in September, it would likely still be there when we came back the next July.
ET: Yes, the good old days.
JR: So that window breakage and things like that were not a problem.
We did, of course, have to arrange to have all of the plumbing drained and the electricity turned off and the telephone turned off and things like that, but those were major precautions taken in shutting up the house and literally abandoning it for eight months.
A few anecdotes from my childhood days in the summer here. I don’t remember a great deal about how the town looked because I had nothing to compare it with. But I do remember when the Post Office used to be about where the beauty shop or barber shop is now. Of course, the Gateway Inn was in operation then with its large group of summer visitors, and the little suspension bridge across the pond and everybody used to walk across to get to the Town Grove. In those days the family owned the Grove and Aunt Fan rented the portion now used as the Town Grove to a man named Timmons who was an engraver in Philadelphia.
ET: Dave Timmons?
JR: Dave Timmons, right. He used to come up and conduct a boat livery there for fishermen and people to rent the boat. He had a little gasoline launch called the Thelma, that was painted white with brown trim and little Inboard two cylinder gasoline engine. If I had been especially good, and Dad was in a good mood he would sometimes take me down and we would take a trip around the lake in the Thelma.
ET: That was fun.
JR: I remember very well the old Holley Block which had been built in 1895 and housed at that time Laverty’s pharmacy on the corner by Holley Street. Then there was Boardmans, I was going to say, food store. It was sort of a general store. They had thread and dry goods and things, but they also had wonderful cookies and things that I was not supposed to have. So, after I got ray weekly allowance, I would generally manage to get myself down to Boardmans somehow, when no one was looking, and buy a package of Necco wafers because I loved the different colors and the different flavors. They had some marshmallow coconut-covered cakes or cookies that were two or three inches in diameter, and they came in strawberry and chocolate and vanilla. I used to love those. So I was a frequent customer at Boardmans.
Later I think Harry Miller’s plumbing shop was in there at one time.
ET: Yes, right in the corner there.
JR: The Lakeville Journal at that time was in either a building that has been torn down or the building that Atlantic Flyway has now. (Ed. – Lakeville Journal was in the building which had housed Atlantic Flyway until 1982.) The telephone office used to be in what more recently was the Duverrie building. It is the building with the white trim. ET: Where Community Fuel is now.
JR: Where Community Fuel is, yes.
I remember when I was in college and Dad was in Lakeville at that time, not for the year round but for some reason he was here, and I placed a long distance call from Princeton because I needed money. I could hear the operator in Lakeville come
on to the phone and the operator in Princeton said she had a person to person call for Mr. Charles Rudd. The Lakeville operator said, “No use in ringing the house, Charlie’s having his hair cut at the barber shop. I’ll ring Chet Thurston instead,” and she did. Mr. Thurston answered and the operator said, “Charlie Rudd’s boy is on the phone. Get Charlie, Probably needs money.” So I talked to Dad and the operator was right, I did need money, but it was a lot more personal than the dial tone system that we have now.
The telegraph system was also interesting, and now pretty much a thing of the past. I don’t remember the telegraph operator’s name. She was a tall, thin, -and I don’t mean this in a mean way at all – spinsterish-looking woman and just as nice as she could be. (End of Side A) If you had a telegraph of bad news for someone, she would call that person’s next-door neighbor and ask him if he would go over and stay with whomever was involved while she called and read them the telegram. She would give them ten minutes to get there and then she would call, because she didn’t want the person to receive bad news and be alone. It was very thoughtful of her.
I met a girl in New York at one time and went to her coming out party in Long Island and felt that I should do something to return that nice invitation, so I invited her out for horse show weekend in the summer with Mother’s full knowledge and approval, of course. Unfortunately, while the girl’s name was Elise, her nickname was Baby because she was the youngest of the family. I was down at the lake one day on the day that Elise was supposed to come up for the weekend and the phone rang and my mother answered. It was the telegraph operator
and she said that she had a telegram for me. Mother said I was at the lake, couldn’t she take the message and the operator demurred considerably and then said, “Well, you are his mother. I suppose I can read it to you,” and she said, “I have this telegram: ’Regret cannot arrive on the 3 o’clock train. Will arrive on the 5:30, signed Baby’ ” It was perfectly obvious from her tone she was not at all sure that Mother was supposed to even know about Baby, much less that she was arriving on the train. She always had an interest in people’s affairs and I don’t think ever gossiped. She was a lovely person.
We always had a rented car when Dad was here, which he would rent from Mr. Martin. One summer I remember it was a 1928 Franklin, which had the air-cooled engine, and was different from other cars in that you didn’t have a starter button that you had to press with your foot after you turned the ignition key on. With the Franklin you turned the key on, as you do in present cars, and the engine started forthwith. The result was that I nearly got run over a half dozen times that summer because I was usually the last one out of the house if we were going anywhere, and as soon as I came out the door Dad was accustomed to starting the engine and he would forget that it would start by turning the key, so the car was usually still in gear and would lurch forward finally before it stalled. I learned early on to walk around the back of the car instead of the front.
ET: Where did you go on these trips?
JR: Oh, we would go up Mount Everett sometimes, as far as one could drive. We’d go to Silver Mountain. We’d take it up to the dam
on Mount Riga and then hike up Bald Peak from there. Of course, we used to go back and forth to Holley and Theo’s. They also, Holley and Theo, used to rent the Harrison house many times in the summer. One year, I remember, they stayed at the Farnum Tavern. That was about 1928.
Somewhere ’round about that time we had the first sound movie In Lakeville at the Stuart Theater. I remember going with Mother and Dad to see and hear Al Jolson In “The Jazz Singer.” The movie was on conventional film, but the sound wasn’t on a sound track on the film the way it is now. It was on a Victrola record that was supposed to synchronize with the movie. It didn’t. There was about a three measure, musically, difference between the movie and the voice. We didn’t hear too much of the sound because of the laughter until finally they stopped it and got everything re-synchronized.
But it was a memorable experience to see and hear a sound movie. I used to go to the movies quite often down there until the Stuart was destroyed in that disastrous fire that one Christmas time.
ET: Yes, I remember that. I just came to Lakeville. And the Roberts store did they used to have dances?
JR: They used to have dances in the ballroom up on the top floor of Roberts, but that I think was before my time. I remember the store and I remember Heaton’s store, which was in the building that is no longer there now. But it was about right next to where the present Gulf Oil station is at Community Field.
I always used to be fascinated with the little change carriers where you pull the chain and the change carrier would scoot across the store to whichever clerk it was destined for
ET: That was a big old store down there.
JR: Yes, it was.
ET: What about the grocery stores?
JR: Well, for a long time there was an A&P right next to Heatons. Then that moved over to under the Stuart Theater. There was a First National, I guess, moved in next to Heatons at that time and later First National took over the bottom of Roberts store after the original store burned, and they built what’s more recently the Lakeville Food Center. Of course, the present post office wasn’t there. The old school building was on that site. It was set back a ways from the elementary school. That was before the present elementary school was built on Lincoln City Road. Martin’s garage was where the present Mobil station is. The Bissell house wasn’t where it is now, of course, it was where the Salisbury Bank and Trust Co. is now.
ET: Dr. Bissell was…
JR: That was young Dr. Bissell. I don’t remember the old Dr. Bissell. And Dr. Peterson, the most outstanding doctor in town, who lived at the foot of the hill across from Bostwick Street.
As I remember the village, it hasn’t changed in appearance all that much. There was a wonderful meat market, Louis Goderis’ market was in that funny little square building with the mansard roof that’s right next to the laundromat.
Of course, the railroad was flourishing in those days. The trestle was there then and the trains used to run right through our back yard here. We used to have something like seven or eight trains a day. There were about three or four
passenger trains and the rest were freights. Sometimes with two or three engines to get them up the grade and they would leave the station down in Lakeville and come back by the back of our house, under the bridge and along and up across what would be the front yards of the houses like the (indistinct, ed.) and around by where the Cadmans used to live. Then over through Ore Hill and along in back and come in on the north side of Millerton, about maybe a mile north of Millerton station.
Then the tracks went on over from there by a somewhat devious route, I guess, to Poughkeepsie. They crossed the Hudson on that high iron bridge north of the Hudson Bridge. The line terminated at a place called Campbell Hall which is out near Binghamton and was a junction point with the Delaware, Hudson and the Susquehanna and, I think, one other railroad. (Campbell Hall is further east in New York State, between Middletown and Newburgh, Ed.) It was a major junction point and. Of course, the other end was at Hartford.
But if you go to the Undermountain Inn up on Undermountain Road, there is a bench on their front porch that says H62 on one end and CH, I think it’s 811/2, or some such number on the other end. The H stood for Hartford and the CH stood for Campbell Hall. It was a bench that used to stand on the station at what was called Chapinville which is Twin Lakes. Somebody had got hold of it and preserved it with the car numbers and so on. There are not too many people who know what the numbers mean.
ET: I never noticed that. I was there the other week and never noticed it.
JR: It can be found on the front porch.
I used to run down and wave at the engineer every time a train came through. (Several sentences indistinct^ Ed.) In those days the fields went right to the edge of the track. The trees hadn’t grown up as much.
I remember one day I used to run on down to the bridge and watch the train go underneath. That was fun because I could watch it switching and see it come home. I was determined to see what happened down inside an engine. So I positioned myself right over the middle of the track and hung over the railing so I could look down the smoke stack. What I had not counted on was that just as it got near it went’chstst’ and I think I was about two hours getting the cinders out of my eyes. I never did find out what went on inside, but I decided not to try to find out. They were fun times in the summer.
ET: Different than now.
JR: Well, there are still fun times in the summer, but very different.
In 1936 when I was a sophomore at Princeton, the then president of the leather business, Harold Rees, died and Dad was made president and had to move from Ashville to New York. So we rented the house in Ashville for some years and Dad was thinking of retiring. Then in 1939 World War II came along and since Mother’s two sisters were dependent on income from the company for their livelihood, he decided that he better stay with the company and not retire. He and Mother lived in various rented houses in Bronxville, Nevi York for about ten years. I think they were in 11 houses in 10 years. Mother
would be In Lakeville from May to October. Dad would stay at the Yale Club and come up for weekends except for the month of August when he had the full month for his vacation. But it gave him rather more time to be in Lakeville than he had before, which was good because after all he had inherited the house in 1915 and here it was 193’5 before he could live in it for more than a couple of weeks a year. The upkeep, while not what it is today, was proportionately expensive.
Then in 1947 after the war, Dad did retire in the spring and moved to Lakeville permanently. He had been spending somewhat more time in the previous two years here than he had before because he had suffered a number of heart attacks and his health wasn’t as good. So he and Mother lived here until Dad died in January 1950- Mother continued on living here, along with a housekeeper, until she died in 1965-
At that time the house came to me as the only child and I was living in Montclair, New Jersey, and working in New Jersey. My son, John, was in prep school at that time about ready to go to college. He went to college in 1967, so I couldn’t move to Lakeville. I kept the house with the housekeeper in residence which meant heating the house, and so on, in winter. The house was fully furnished then with all of Mother and Dad’s things as well as older pieces and with vandalism as it was, there was no way I could see to close up the house without grave danger to me. So I did that until 1972. I moved up here in the beginning of 1972, having taken early retirement because the company I had been working with got swallowed up in a merger and canceled the retirement plan at the time, so I didn’t have that much to look forward
In the meantime, John had graduated from Duke and had gotten a good job in Michigan with an engineering company and I felt I could pull up stakes from New Jersey and move up here because there was a lot of work that needed to be done and it was work that I thought I could do because I like to do work around the house. I have lived here on a permanent basis since January 1972. Really have always felt that the place was home because it was the only really permanent place that I had. John keeps telling me to live a long time and stay healthy so he can afford to move here.
ET: I hope he’s going to keep it up and come back here some day… JR: Well, he certainly is interested but I don’t know how long I can last.
ET: You know, the Rudd name is…. You know, there are not so many now.
JR: There are not so many male Rudds around anymore.
ET: Ben’s gone away and Prissy’s name is different.
JR: There’s Ben and Ros and John.
ET: Yes, you have got to keep the Rudd name going around here
The Building of “Holleywood”, Part 1
The following is taken from notes my father, Charles E. Rudd, made after reading my Great-grandfather Holley’s diaries. JKR
My grandfather, Alexander Hamilton Holley, said in his diary of 1850, under the date of March 29th, quote:-“Drew a plan for the house by the grove.” As far as 1 can see, this was the beginning of “Holleywood” House.
From the following it is evident that, before starting any building operations, he decided to beautify the land around the building site. In his diary of 1850 he said that from April 16th to 19th he planted apple trees at Ion Hill.(afterwards named Holleywood). On April 20th he was busy “setting out forest trees”; the 25th was busy building a fence between Holleywood and the Dean Meadow, and on May 1st “Planted three fir trees on Ion Hill”.
From an entry May 3rd there was evidently a red barn in Grove.
May 4th: “Busy stacking up lumber for my house.”
June 25th:”Brought home four of the Meeting House columns bought, of Richardson.” (On November 26, 1849, the Congregational Society agreed to alter the church at Salisbury, and the foregoing columns came from it. These columns were hand carved in 1798 or 1799, were put in the church when it was built in 1800, and today support the roof of the west porch at “Holleywood”, CER)
Under date of September 21st he said: “In A.M. with David and Michael to set them digging stone for my new house on Ion Hill.” Sept. 26: “Made a new plan of house.” October 2nd: “David and I went up to the quarry and brought home one large stone after 4 P.M.” October 4th: “Finished getting stone for underpinning for house. Cost me about $25 delivered.”
October 15th: “Set my men to blasting rocks in the Dean Meadow for foundation of a barn on Ion Hill.”
On October 19th he spent most of the day at Ion Hill trying to suit himself in staking out grounds for his house but did not succeed. In the evening he tried to make a plan of the house more comfortable to the lot.
November 4th: “Vent to stone quarry by the side of the pond.” (I imagine this was the one that used to be to the left of the entrance to Wake Robin on the road to Hotchkiss. I am quite sure it was because on November 7th he said he walked to the quarry on Wheeler’s shore. One of the bars in the lake, off the East shore opposite this quarry, is known as Wheeler’s Bar. -CER)
November 15th he writes: “Showed the men about moving the lumber into the carriage house”. This carriage house was probably near where he was living then. He evidently had a good deal of trouble getting a house plan and deciding where to locate the house because he says, on November 22, 1850: “Occupied about home making another house plan and staking out a new location.”
While he was in New York on December 6th he called on some iron men about castings for his house.
On December 14th he helped his men move more stone out of the Dean Meadow.
January 9th: “David and Michael finished drawing stone which we had dug on Mr. Foster’s land. A brick maker from Windsor came to see me.”
January 10th: “Looked about my farm most of the forenoon with a brick maker to find clay suitable for making brick; did not succeed in finding it in sufficient quantities to warrant me to make a kiln.”
January 11th: “Accompanied my men into the woods back of the house to show them where to cut timber for my new house.”
Under date of February 11th he writes that his son Alexander drew a plan of elevation of a house which he (grandfather) concluded was too large for the place and his use.
February 28th: “Mr. Bidwell of West Stockbridge called to talk with me about marble for window sills, etc. for my house”.
On March 4th he was in Bridgeport and went to a Mr. Beer’s shop to see about building for him, and while in Bridgeport on the 6th he purchased “a little lumber”. He was still having a hard time deciding on the plans because under date of March 8th he wrote “drew another plan for the house” and again on March 10th “completed another house plan in the evening” and still again on March 11th he says “Completed plans of house, barns and yards.”
On March 22nd in the afternoon he and Alexander staked out the house plot on Ion Hill.
Under date of March 27th, he wrote: “The men broke ground today for the new barn on Ion Hill, first ground broken for the new place of residence.” And at last, on April 15th he had finished a plan of the house to send to S.G. Nash, Bridgeport architect.
He wrote on April 21st that one George Leonard was ready to go to work on his barn cellar wall on Ion Hill and that morning they moved the small barn in which to store brick. On the 22nd to quote “This A.M. we commenced vigorously at the barn cellar at Ion Hill.”
Another man, by the name of Clapp, was hired April 23rd to work on the barn cellar, and Michael was blasting out the large rock by the barn.
April 28th: “In P.M. planted several cherry trees at Ion Hill.” 1 remember a large ”Oxheart1 at the gate house and another near the ice house that were cut down a number of years ago. CER) I also remember one on the lawn near the hedge by the garden path off the Vest Porch. (JKR)
Under date of April 29th he wrote: “Vent with Michael onto Esq. Wheeler’s Hill after forest trees to transplant at Ion Hill.” That afternoon he took all his men to “sit out 15 large and small trees” and wrote: “In trimming one of the elms placed there some two years ago I cut a deep gash in the root of my thumb.”
On May 10th he received from Mr. Nash at Bridgeport a plan elevation of the house.
After dinner on May 19th a Mr. Ashley and his son, carpenters, were ready to commence on his barn. On May 20th he took his men into the woods after lumber and cut five fine chestnuts and got one of them home. On May 22nd he brought home a load of lumber from Falls Village, it having been sent up from Bridgeport.
On Saturday, May 24th he speaks of one Brazee carting dirt from the cellar to the front of the barn. Under date of May 28th he wrote: “Started my saw mill this A.M.” From this it is assumed that much of the lumber for the barn and house was sawed on the place.
On June 4, 1851, the railroad station “Tantalus” waschanged to that of “Millerton”.
July 2nd, Wednesday: “I spent most of the day with Mr. Ashley and my men in putting together my barn frame on Ion Hill, preparatory to raising.”
July 3rd: “In A.M. invited more neighbors to my barn raising and then assisted the men in getting up timbers, etc. and getting ready to raising. In the P.M. we raised it easily and without any accident.”
July 8th: “In the morning assisted Mr. Ashley in laying out the cupola for the barn.” July 11th: “Mr. Ashley finished the board roof on the barn ready for the tin.” (From this I assume that this was the big barn near the outside hydrant in back of Holleywood. It was taken down about 1940. JKR)
Note: August 13, 1851 was the 100th anniversary of Litchfield County.
September 6th: ” A day or two since, I finished a well on Ion Hill and commenced another of the north side of the highway with the view of taking water from it to my barn and carriage house.” (Note:I presume this was the well at the house that Emily Miles
now lives in. I remember it well when I was a boy and Walter Sil- vernail and family lived there, Willard Silvernail being my playmate. CER)
October 8th: “Commenced digging a house cellar on Ion Hill.”
October 11th: “Vent into the woods-back of Mr. Chittenden’s (Dora Gray’s, I believe. CER) in A.M. with David and John to get timber for the kitchen, the first timber to be cut for the house on Ion Hill.”
October 15th: “Charles Wright commenced today to frame the kitchen for the house on Ion Hill.” When he was in New York on October 22nd he purchased paints, oil, etc. for painting the barn. On October 23rd a Mr. Stevens and sofa7,’.masons, came to lay the cellar wall of the kitchen.
December 27th: “Completed new house plan. Thermometer 21 degrees below zero.”
January 15th: “At 7:30 I went with seven teams to Egremont after stone for the underpinning of my house. We reached home with seven large loads of sawed stone of various sizes which cost me, including drawing, about $75.00. Some of this will do for window caps and sills.”
On January 16th he went to Goshen, CT to purchase caps and sills.
January 20th: “Men are improving this fine sleighing in getting brick from Lime Rock for my house – about 48,000 odd up to date.”
News Item: “Papers give accounts of thousands of persons crossing over from New York to Brooklyn on the ice. 15,000 are said to have crossed on Tuesday, January 20th.”
January 22nd: “Thermometer 24 degrees below zero.”
January 23rd: “Vent into the woods with John after timber; drew home a load of sawed logs with the oxen.”
January 26th: “Alex drew an elevation plan of a house plan for Ion Hill.”
January 31st: “Bricks coming on for house on Ion Hill from Sheffield.” It at last seems that he had gotten a house plan that would suit because he says under date of February 13th: “Finished a house plan which I think I shall finally adopt.”
February 24th: “Mr. Wright took home some lumber to make window frames for windows of kitchen.”
March 2nd: for me.”
“Closed contract with Mr. Gardner to build my house
March 16th: “Spent the forenoon in perfecting the plan of my house – a plan which I think I shall now build upon after having made 30 or 40 different ones. A lot of trees I ordered last fall from Rochester, which arrived so late that I was obliged to place them in the cellar over the winter – how they will turn out, I cannot say.”
April 9th: “I was about Ion Hill most of the day planting trees received from Rochester last fall.”
April 10th: “Men were digging the cellar for the brick part of the house.”j?
April 17th: “Mr. Wright laid the ‘sills, etc. of the kitchen and framed some part of the east tower.”
May 8th: “Very busy all forenoon on Ion Hill preparing to raise frame of the kitchen and woodhouse. In P.M. we raised it.”
On May 13th he was in New York City and made an agreement with the Empire Stone Company for the stone work on his new brick house on Ion Hill and ordered about $150.00 worth.
May 19th: “Wrote Mr. Sloat, Superintendent of the Harlem Railroad, about freighting brown stone for my house, requesting a car and care.”
May 25th: “Laid the northeast corner stone of the brick part of the building today.”
May 29th: “Received a letter from the Stone Dressing Company in New York saying my building stone (worked for doors and windows) had been shipped to Millerton.”
June 1st: “Masons laid the foundation for the kitchen chimney. Note: Mr. Merwin brought to Ion Hill and introduced me to Rev. Henry Ward Beecher. We laid the first brick today in the lower kitchen fireplace.” (in cellar CER)
June 8th: “The masons were at work on the underpinning to the tower and putting up pieces under the first floor.”
June 10th: “Today we laid the first brick in the walls of the house on the west side – also laid two window sills.”
June 22nd: “My men on Ion Hill nearly completed the walls of the first story of my house.”
July 2nd: “Hallick lathing kitchen.”
July 9th; “Raised timbers to the 2nd floor of the house.”
July 21st: “Laid timber to the garret floor but did not arrange them.”
July 22nd: “Carpenters engaged in placing timbers for third floor in house.”
July 27th: “John brought home a load of stone from Millerton for caps and sills.”
July 29th: “Finished back wall of the main house today.”
July 30th: “Finished the front wall today.”
August 5th: “After dinner I assisted in laying the plates, etc. to the new house on Ion Hill.”
August 10th: “Alex drove to Canaan after lime.”
August 12th: “My 48th birthday.”
August 19th: “Laid the last brick on the tower at Ion Hill today. It is now ready to receive the roof.”
August 21st: “Finished the first chimney of the house. Alex went after brick at Sheffield.”
On August 26th he was in New York City and purchased a chimney, 1 presume this was a terra cotta one as there was one. CER) and also molding, etc.
September 1st: “Today we commenced plastering on the outside of the house at Ion Hill, also carted gravel from the lake shore and mixed it with the mortar .for the outside coating.”
September 2nd: “Men finished first coat of plaster.”
September 7th: “Today, I commenced coloring my house by mixing Ohio paint with the third coat of mortar made of gravel. The second and third coats were put on one immediately after the other.”
September 15th: “John assisted Mr. Windship in putting on the rough cast.”
September 18th he was in Albany and purchased a few thousand feet of lumber for flooring and lath, also nails, riddels, etc.
September 20th: “Today took down the scaffold poles from around the tower and finished putting the rough cast on same.”
October 6th: “John assisted me in lathing the second story in the tower, etc.”
October 27th: “Windship and I went to the Falls in the P.M. to get stone for the kitchen hearth.”
October 28th: “Windship put the first coat of mortar onto the pantry and sinkroom walls, etc.”
October 29th: “Windship put the first coat of plaster onto our bedroom.”
On November 19th he was in New York and “made arrangements for some handrails, newel posts and balusters for the new house.”
1853 and 1854 diaries are missing. A note in my father’s handwriting states that “Holleywood was completed and Grandfather Holley moved into it on November 11, 1853.” JKR
To digress some, I would like to write a bit about those of my ancestors who lived in “Holleywood” after its completion: (JKR)
Alexander- H. Holley lived at his father, John Milton Holley’s house (now known as Holley-Williams House) until he married Jane Lyman of Goshen on October 4, 1831. They then moved to a small, existing house at the SW corner of John Milton’s lot, across the yard from his house. John Milton Holley was at that time married to his second wife, Mary Ann Cogswell, his first wife (and A.H. Holley’s mother) Sally Porter Holley having died February 24, 1816. John Milton Holley died at his home on November 14, 1836, and Mary Ann lived at the house until her death on April 18, 1876.
Alexander H. Holley and Jane Lyman had a son, Alexander Lyman Holley, born on July 20, 1832. Jane (his mother) died only seven weeks later on September 18, 1832, at their house. Alexander Lyman Holley is the “Alex” referred to frequently in his father’s diaries concerning the construction of “Holleywood”.
Alexander H. Holley closed his house for a short time following his wife Jane’s death, but then returned to it. He married Marcia Coffing on September 10, 1835 and they lived there until he built “Holleywood” into which they moved on November 11, 1853, presumably with their two surviving children, John Coffing Holley (then 16), and Maria Coffing Holley (my grandmother-to-be, then 11). A.H. Holley’s second wife, Marcia Coffing, died on March 11, 1854, just four months to the day after they had moved into their new house. A.H. Holley continued to live in “Holleywood” until his death on October 2, 1887. During this time he was busy serving as Lieutenant Governor in 1854-55, getting married in Hartford to his third wife, Sarah Coit Day, on November 11, 1856, and serving as Governor for the 1857-58 term. The Holley Manufacturing Company, which he founded in 1844, also took up a great deal of his time.
The Building of “Holleywood” Part 2
Before continuing with the building of “Holleywood”, there are a couple of entries in Alexander Hamilton Holley’s diary of 1851 that I found to be of interest although they don’t directly have any connection with construction of the house:
June 25th: “Rode early to Ameniaville (now Amenia) to carry proceeds of drafts discounted on Monday last for Morris, Miller and Schuyler to pay off railroad contractors. Mr. Schuyler was then the President of the Harlem Railroad Company, and it was Mr. Miller for whom the Millerton station was named. ’JKR) While in the Station House there (Ameniaville) the engine came .up as far as the iron was laid, within 40 or 50 rods of the Station House. It sent a thrill of pleasure through my frame to see it as I had made so many efforts to secure the construction of the road. . I hope soon to hear its whistle in our immediate vicinity—Millerton.”
September 1st: “Left Bridgeport at 5.30 A.M. for Millerton via New Haven R.R. to Williams Bridge (just north of N.Y. City) thence up the Harlem. We reached Millerton at 12.15 in the first passenger train ever run from New York to that station. I felt it to be my day of triumph as the work which I had been anxious for, for so many years, to see completed. It was so far done as to enable regular trains of cars to run to the station nearest to us and which this day have commenced regular trips. Some of the officers of the road and many of the citizens of Northeast and Salisbury congratulated me, and I indeed did feel rejoiced and compensated for much care and anxiety. I remained in Millerton until 5 o’clock when Mrs. Holley came for me.”
October 31st: “A considerable part of the morning was interrupted by the passing by our house of Barnum’s Menagerie etc. A very large train of horses and wagons of cars with live animals, museum, music etc. and an immense car drawn by eight horses. Tom Thumb’s carriage was drawn by two very small Shetland ponies. There were two camels on foot, eight elephants, etc. At 2 P.M. I had to accompany Maria and our hired girls to see the show above mentioned at the Center (Salisbury).
NOTE: The “John” mentioned many times during the construction of the house was A.H.H.’s son, John Coffing Holley, born on December 20, 1837, died in San Francisco on November 3, 1865. And the “Maria”, also frequently mentioned, was Alexander’s daughter, Maria Coffing Holley, born July 26, 1842 and died March 25, 1914. She was my grandmother. John and Maria were the only children of Alexander’s marriage to Marcia Coffing to survive, the other three having died in infancy or before the age of eight. (JKR)
On returning- to Lakeville following Alexander Hamilton Holley’s one-year term as Governor in 1857-58, he and his wife Sarah Day Holley, resumed their residence at “Holleywood”. They were now involved in more social and political events and soon decided that the house, as it was originally built, did not have rooms that were large enough to suit their needs. Considerable thought must have been given during 1859 as to how to make the first floor rooms larger and more attractive and plans must have been drawn to show what work was to be done. Briefly, the changes involved work as follows: Knock out places in the back (south) brick wall and make clapboard extensions of eight feet depth on southwest first and second floors and twelve feet in depth on the southeast 1st, 2nd, and 3rd floors, each extension involving a- new chimney and fireplace and the southeast one holding a large cistern on the third floor to collect rain water to be piped down to the kitchen. The first floor of the kitchen wing was extended southward eight feet to enlarge the laundry and provide a porch on the south side of the kitchen next to the well (No one had what now would be Town water). On the interior the wall separating the two small rooms on the northwest portion of first and second floors was cut out to make one larger parlor on the first floor and a larger bedroom and closets on the second floor. On the east side of the central hall a similar alteration was made and, in addition, the spiral staircase that went from the cellar to the third floor was moved in toto from the front of the house to the back of the hallway. This provided a much more spacious and formal dining room on the east side and a formal parlor on the west. The twelve foot extension on the east side gave space for a library section downstairs and another bedroom upstairs. These additions were made in 1860, and the house has had no significant structural changes since then. The third floor of the house is still in the original plan with a circular closet where the staircase used to be.
The following is taken from notes my father and I have made from Alexander Hamilton Holley’s diary for 1860:
February 13th: “Rode to Millerton after a load of lumber to use in alterations of House.”
February 15th: “Mr. Phelps came to commence work on house alterations.”
February 17th: “At home cleaning out office preparatory to alterations in our house.”
February 20th: “On our return (from Millerton) I completed my plan for improvements in the house.”
February 21st: “Phelps commenced work on improvements about the house. I went to Millerton after load of lumber in the sleigh.”
February 22nd: “Commenced taking down door partitions, etc. in the house.”
February 23rd: “At home, men still tearing down in the house.”
February 24th: “Men all came and we put up stairs after moving them to the rear of Hall.”
February 25th: “Occupied in the repair of house.”
February 29th: “At home attending to workmen.”
March 3rd: “Brownell took off roof of piazza and men took it down.”
March 6th: “At home superintending men- as usual.”
March 8th: “Men moved arch from hall- to rear of dining room.”
March 9th: “Men all at work inside on account of cold and snow out of doors.”
March 21st: “At home, constantly engaged with the men in the repairs, alterations and additions to the house.”
March 24th: “At home; in the morning we raised the library building on the rear of our sitting room.”
March 29th: “Went to the bank at Falls Village. At freight station found furniture which Mrs. H. had purchased in Boston. Paid freight bills and left furniture till we could finish rooms for it in the house.”
April 4th: “At home occupied with repairs of house.”
April 6th: “It being our annual Rent Day, we attended Church and Dr. Reid preached an excellent sermon. My men, being anxious to work, we kept on with alterations in the house.”
April 12th: “Brought home sash and blinds purchased at Boston.”
April 14th: “Men put windows and floor into library building. Garrett began to prepare blinds for library windows.”
April 15th: “My eyes troubling me as they have done more or less for two or three months. I read and write less than usual, but in other respects enjoy my comfortable health.”
April 16th: “At home. Library plastered first time.”
April 25th: “In New York purchasing marble mantle for Library, Hardman & Co. and escorting Mrs. Holley in her shopping.”
April 26th: “In New York. Shopping till 3 o’clock when we left for home. Reached Millerton at 7 o’clock and came home to tea.”
April 2’7 & 2Sth: “At home superintending the workmen.”
April 30th: “Occupied about house in the morning and afterwards rode to the Bank.
May 1st: “At home attending to men’,’ etc.”
May 3rd: “At home most of the day. John rode to Millerton after a plumber.”
May 4th: “At home with plumber. Warm dry weather.”
May 5th: “A warm day. We are beginning to experience quite a drought. Rode to Millerton after marble mantle, etc. but did not find them.”
May 18th: A.H.H. was in Chicago attending the Republican National Convention to nominate candidates for President and Vice President. He writes: “On the third ballot Abraham Lincoln of Illinois was declared the nominee (for President) and the building trembled with the acclamation that went up from the thronging multitude. Adjourned until afternoon when Hannibal Hamlin of Maine was nominated for Vice President.”
June 1st: “Spent the day at home. – – The weather has been quite dry here in my absence, but the crops, notwithstanding, look as well as any I have seen except in Illinois.”
June 2nd: “Mrs. Holley accompanied me to the Falls when I rode after Garrett to come and assist in finishing the House. Spent the remainder of day at home.”
June 5th: “Garrett came to assist in finishing up work on the House.”
June 27th: “Occupied about home. Today the Steamship Great Eastern, about which there has been great excitement in this country and England, came into New York harbor after a passage of eleven days from Southhampton. She is the largest ship ever built being nearly 700 ft. long, about 60 deep and 58 broad. Alexander Chis son Alexander Lyman Holley) was sent out by the N.Y. Times to come in in her, as its correspondent. Her reception in New York was very enthusiastic. Thousands and thousands turned out to see her.
June 29th: “Alexander’s description of the voyage of the Great Eastern came out in today’s Times. It occupied about nine columns in the paper.”
June 30th: “Alex’ account of the ship, Great Eastern, appears in today’s New York Times with a Diagram of the Ship.”
At the time “Holleywood” was first built, people did not have running water except from cisterns or springs, and the toilet had probably not yet been invented. Everyone used an “outhouse” which was usually located a bit away from the house itself for obvious reasons! When the 1860 additions and alterations were made, I believe that a “toilet” was put in a closet at the back end of the hall, and there is still evidence that there was another toilet in a closet at the southeast corner of the woodshed, perhaps for the use of the servants. Both toilets would have drained down to a cesspool down about 100 feet to the south of the house. The fact that, on May 3rd 1860, “John rode to Millerton after a plumber” was probably for the installation of the two toilets and the necessary drainage piping. Also, at this time the cistern on the third floor level above the library and new bedroom would have had a pipe from the tank down to the kitchen to supply rainwater to augment the well which was situated just outside the kitchen porch. This pipe is shown in a photograph of the back of the House taken on November 27, 1895 which also shows the 1860 additions.
My Father, Charles Rudd, who was born in 1881, often used to tell me about how he and his two brothers had to sleep on the third floor where there was no heat. Each bedroom was equipped with a large china washbasin, and the first thing the occupant had to do upon arising was to break the ice on the basin and wash his face.
Alexander Hamilton Holley lived in his house until his death on October 2, 1887, and his wife, Sarah Coit Day Holley, continued to live there until her death on March 23, 1899. Their daughter, Maria Coffing Holley, had married William Beardslee Rudd, and they lived in Lakeville until their deaths, his in 1901 and hers in 1914. Then at that time the house and grounds were divided among the four Rudd children. Each of them already had a house elsewhere, and my father, the youngest of them, took “Holleywood” on 8 acres of land as his share of the estate; the others took land or property for theirs.
Early in 1915 my father engaged the architect Gerard Fountain to make numerous changes to bring the facilities up to date. The only outside changes were the removal of a small porch outside the dining room, the removal of a small glass closet-size conservatory beside the library, and some revision of the kitchen porch.
On the interior a new butler’s pantry was formed, the kitchen was modernized as to storage space, sink and stove arrangement, etc. and doors between the dining room and living room were removed, and a new front door was provided. On the second floor, most of the partition between the front and middle west bedrooms was removed and half of the middle room was partitioned to provide a new bathroom and some closet space. Also, the only bathtub was removed from its location and a new one was installed in its place at the south-east corner of the house. Another new bathroom was provided in the servants’ quarters above the kitchen. New plumbing was provided as required for the new bathrooms, kitchen and pantry, and a new iron 66-gallon boiler was put in the kitchen and attached to the range.
The tin roof of the main house was removed and a new roof, using large sheets painted on the underside, was installed. After the new roof had seasoned, it was painted with one heavy coat of metallic paint, followed in ten days with a second coat.
On the interior, all woodwork was cleaned and scraped and the dark-painted doors given three coats of paint. All woodwork of the main house was given a coat of cream colored paint throughout the first and second stories.
Prior to 1915 few, if any, buildings in Lakeville had electric power or lighting; my father once told me that the Holley Mfg. Co. was the first and “Holleywood” the second. There were electric power lines along the roads from which power could be brought by wires to the buildings, and at the point- .of entry a main service switch and meter were required. Mr. Fountain’s specifications were “The current for electric lighting will be supplied by B.X. flexible tube system.” The wire itself was to be of best quality copper with best grade rubber insulation. Immediately after the main service switch and meter, there was to be a heavy slate panel on which were copper bus-bars leading to ten branch circuits, each of which was to be provided with a double-pole knife switch with a fuse in each side. Thus there were ten individual circuits which were to lead to the lights in the house. The entire system was at 110 volts AC with a total capacity of 90 amperes. The fuse box was mounted in the pantry wall with a door having a lock and key.
Fortunately, I was able to find Mr. Fountain’s original plans and specifications for the foregoing 1915 changes to “Holleywood” and have filed them in the family safe in the living room. I also have kept the original panel board and fuses (not connected!) as a curio. Mr. Fountain died at his home in Scarsdale, N.Y. on September 27, 1944 at the age of 83. CJKR)
In April 1931 The closet in the southwest “den” on the first floor was converted to a lavatory with toilet and wash basin so that Mrs. John Krom Rees, (my mother’s mother) who often visited “Holleywood” for the summer, but because of her age was unable to go upstairs, could use the den as her bedroom. After her death on November 20, 1936 the lavatory has served as the “powder room” for our visitors.
In August 1940, the large barn southeast of the house and known as the “horse barn” was torn down because of rot in the roof, beams, and sides. Alexander H. Holley’s coach, which had been stored in the barn, was moved down to the “cow barn” until it was sold to a collector in Massachusetts in about 1960.
Also in 1940 my father had a General Electric oil-burning furnace installed, along with a 1,000 gallon underground oil tank, to replace the somewhat aged coal burning hand fired furnace. Since war had already started in Europe, my father was afraid that oil might not always be available, and since the coal furnace was still operable, he left it place and arranged the steam piping so that either’ furnace could be used.
In 1980, we had the exterior wooden part of the house scraped and painted the same white color as before. In a rash moment, I agreed to sand and prime and paint the shutters, not realizing that we had 130 of them; I spent a busy winter painting them in the cellar!
In 1982 the old electric refrigerator in the kitchen failed, and we bought a new one.
In the spring of 1983 we were informed that the new septic system that was installed, with State approval, in 1971, was no longer acceptable because the house was 340 feet from the Town sewer line along the highway; had we been 400 feet or more from the highway, and hence closer to the Lake, septic systems were acceptable. To connect with the town sewer, we had to install a special sewer pump in the back yard and pump the sewage all the way out to the end of the driveway where it could connect. The cost of this was somewhat over $7,600.00.
In 1987 and ’88 we had to have the soffit boards on the underside of the roof overhang replaced due to rot where there had been nail holes in the roofing. This was a big expense as the soffits on the main roof were 30 inches wide. We also had some tree work done as several of the larger ones needed to have steel cables connecting the branching trunks.
In 1990 the house needed painting again as the clapboards, which were over 100 years old, had softened enough that the paint tended to peel in places. It had been ten years since the last painting was done. This time we didn’t do the shutters!
In 1993 the tin roof, which had been put on in 1915, had begun to leak in several places. A new roof of fire-proof fiberglass shingles was put on over the tin on the main top roof and the wing extending to the east, which contained the kitchen, laundry, etc. The porch roofs and garage roof were left as they did not have any serious leaks. They were painted with rust-resistant paint.
The stone wall which runs along the highway edge was showing signs of collapse due to the pressure of the higher level of earth on the highway side due to repeated repavings. We had the wall levelled up to correct the condition.
In 1996 we had the 1,000 gallon underground oil tank taken up and replaced with two 330 gallon tanks located in the basement. Fortunately, there had been no leakage from the underground tank, due in part to the fact that the tank had been installed on a 7-inch layer of porous sand.
Other than a new General Electric refrigerator in 1998 and a considerable ongoing amount of tree work, “Holleywood” has not changed noticeably except for its exterior painting in year 2000.
John Krom Rudd September 15, 2001
A few years before my mother’s death in 1965 she had deeded “Holleywood” to me as I was her only child, and in 1965 I became the active owner. In 1967 my wife and I decided we would like to modernize the old kitchen, and in preparation we replaced most of the 1915 galvanized water piping with copper tubing and valves. A family friend, who was an agent for St. Charles Kitchens, was kind enough to design a kitchen for us and helped us install it in July 1967. We also put in a new gas stove in November 1967.
On November 14, 1969 the 1940 GE oil-burning furnace backfired, filling most of the house with oil soot. Fortunately the clean-up was covered by insurance. We replaced the_GE furnace with a new H. B. Smith-Mills suitable size unit which is still operating well.
In July 1971 we had a State-approved septic system installed in the back yard since we had decided we would, move to “Holleywood” on a year round basis at the end of the year.
In September 1971, we had the original 110 volt, 90 ampere electric panel replaced by a 220 volt, 200 ampere panel which had a capacity for 30 individual branch circuits protected by suitable circuit breakers rather than fuses. This also gave us 220 volt power for the electric clothes dryer and other machinery.
1972 and ’73 were devoted to scraping and painting the white woodwork in the house, putting new wallpaper on all the first and second floors of the main house except for the tower room guest room which had recently been done, and making curtains for the dining room and living rooms. We bought the den curtains and were able to use the existing parlor ones. After completing the wallpapering, I reupholstered several chairs and sofas.
In 1974 we had to have the only remaining barn (the “cow barn”) taken down because the roof leaked badly and the timbers were in poor condition; children and been using it as a place to play before we moved here, and we were afraid someone would get badly hurt.
Since the loss of the “horse barn” in 1940, the four-place enclosed coach that Great-grandfather Holley used had been stored in the “cow barn”, and before that barn was taken down my mother sold the coach to a collector in Massachusetts. I had taken a number of photos of the coach, made an accurate set of plans of it to the scale of one inch to the foot, and produced a model of the coach.
In 1975 we put a shower in the guest bathroom upstairs, using the existing tub but building a short extension wall on which to put the shower head and hold one end of the curtain rod. At the same time we put new water-proof wallpaper on and installed a new wash basin and toilet.
In 1979 we discovered that the 10×14 inch chestnut floor beams supporting the west porch had become infested with carpenter ants, so I took up the outer four feet of flooring, jacked up the columns one at a time, and put in new treated lumber beams. In doing so. I discovered that the footing for each column consisted of a stack of used grindstones, taken from the Holley Mfg. Company in 1852 !