Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Quilt Garden Tour and a Stop in Elkhart

Our next stop was at Elkhart. I love this city. It has so many museums, an elegant downtown and rivers, boy does it have rivers. The Elkhart, Mishawaka and St. Joseph rivers meet here. There is a Railroad Museum, art museums, historical museums and there are historic homes. There are also parks and river walks that take your breath away. So it should come as no surprise that in a city of multiple Quilt Gardens we only saw one!

We only saw one garden because he took a tour of the Ruthmere Mansion. This took about two hours but it was oh so grand. The mansion was built in 1908 by the Beardsley family. It became part of a row of mansion for millionaires. The mansion looks out at the river.

This particular mansion is not enormous and in fact was made simply to entertain visiting guests and business associates. The building is beautiful. The Billiard Room has faux elephant skin wall paper, actually looks much nicer than it sounds. It has an early air conditioning system. There is original art all over the place. That includes Rodans, Tiffany class, porcelains and paintings. The wall papers are of silk and satins. The furniture is opulent and the dining room is just waiting to serve me.

There is a green house for one; it connects to the mansion via an underground passage. It is watered by a system that collected and used rain water. The building was green before we ever knew what that meant.

The garage was even interesting. The cars drove in head first. They parked on a round abut on the ground the round-about turned so the car was then facing out. That is because early cars did not have a reverse. There was even an electric car that had service in the Secret Service.

Nest to the mansion was the Quilt Garden. This one was titled “Flower Basket”. It was big, thirty feet by thirty feet. By the time we made the tour the weather had taken a toll on the garden. We didn’t car. I finally toured the mansion and behind us was the river greenway.

Elkhart: The Ruthmere Mansion: Quilt Garden

After looking at the garden we went over to the river. I walked over the bridge that leads to Island Park. The island is Elkhart Island, named because to the original Native Americans it looked like an Elk’s Heart. This is the land of the Pottawatomie and the Chippewa. The Beardsley’s were the premier settlers and the town could have been named after them. Instead they honored the original inhabitants and kept the name.

Elkhart River and Ruthmere Mansion

I love river cities. They are the site of mills, dams and growing culture (and of course pollution). I keep coming back to Elkhart and I don’t see that stopping in the near future!

Walking to Island Park: Elkhart Indiana

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