Today I went with my friends Amber and Bev to see the Reynolda House. It was built and named for one R. J. Reynolds, or rather his wife, Katharine Smith Reynolds. He was from one of the major tobacco families and also managed to make quite a fortune for himself, ever finding new ways of selling stuff that would give people cancer.
R. J. was about 30 years older than his wife, but their marriage was a happy one, and it soon became clear that she was every bit as energetic and smart as he was, but in the ways of the time she devoted herself more to the creation of a home than to business. She supervised the building of Reynolda House and the village which bears its name, and the deed for all the area around was in her name, not R. J.'s.
She gave birth to four children, and created a model village around the house, and things were about as high tech and progressive as one could reasonably hope for at that time. She provided education and leisure activities for the workers and seem to have been quite liberal on race issues - her husband donated several hundred thousand in his will to a hospital wing for blacks. She would donate expensive clothes to servants and manual workers, and give cash to numerous charities.
R. J. died in 1918 (ironically of cancer), the year they moved into the house, and the missus died just six years later. Her oldest daughter took over the household and made some additions to the basement, like a shooting gallery, a bowling alley and a bar. She eventually turned the house over to a foundation in the late 60s, and the place became a museum, with an emphasis on arts. In addition to the house itself, there's a tiny village with a restaurant (highly recommended!) and galleries and shops.
Sadly they don't allow you to take pics indoors, but all pics of the property here. You can also check out some of their vast collection here.
The BBQ chicken pizza we had for brunch at the Tavern in Reynolda Village. So, so yummy.
The house. I think it had something like 14 bathrooms. This was not because of luxury as such, but because the old missus had some very progressive ideas about the virtues of cleanliness.
Who's this handsome fella, then?
This used to be a manmade lake of 14 acres.
Water would come in through pipes and run over the wall like a waterfall. They also had a large, private pool up at the house. It's nice to have money. Sigh.
Some buns I bought in Old Salem yesterday but forgot to take pics of. They're frosted and smell of cinnamon. Mmmmmm, cinnamon.