To begin we must admit that reconstructing the list of tenants who leased the two sides of the property during the closing decades of the twentieth century has been (and will remain) a difficult challenge. We have yet to find among Miss Grove’s papers a record of all the names of those who leased the stone side of the property. In fact, what we do know of the individuals and families who rented this house over the course of time that passed after the Grim family moved out has been recovered through a combination of research and luck. For instance, on 8 August 2003 we had a visitor from Ridgeley, West Virginia, who came to our museum with her husband. She identified herself as someone who lived in the stone side of the property when her family rented it during the late 1950s. She had been a teenager at the time she lived there and was therefore able to recall some of architectural features of the house from that period. As is typically the case, she remembered less about the details of things that had not changed since the time of her family’s tenancy. Unfortunately, this woman visited during a period when we were not making a point of collecting the names of our visitors, so we have no way of contacting her today. We hope she visits again because we have more questions we think she can answer.
During the 1960s Miss Grove began to consider ways of restoring the stone side of the building to its earlier appearance. By the end of that decade she had hired the late Mr. Irvin O’Connell, a local contractor and historic home enthusiast to do the work. Among the things Mr. O’Connell did was remove a badly weathered front porch that probably dated to the late 1800s or early 1900s. Apparently, Miss Grove did not document this porch with photographs or drawings before its removal. This sort of documentation is now a standard practice in the historic preservation movement. Fortunately, the 1930s era photo of the Stone House with this porch helps us get a sense of its style and character. We also know that Miss Grove had the first floor ceiling plaster and lath removed to expose the hewn second floor timber joists overhead. She also had Mr. O’Connell open a passage through the rear stone wall on the second floor into the second floor of the ell addition. Prior to this modification, if you wished to go from the second floor in the stone front portion of the house to the second floor in the rear frame ell addition, you would have to go down one set of stairs to the first floor and go back up a second set of stairs in the rear addition to reach your destination.
In all likelihood there was a steady stream of tenants who moved in and out of the stone side of the property during the 1950s and ’60s. It is not until the 1970s that we start to know some of their names. We should also note that after Nettie Argenbright passed away in 1972 and the Argenbright family heirs sold the log side of the property to Harold & Jean Patton, tenants were also renting the log side of the property. The Pattons did not own the log side for very long and sold it on 13 December 1973 to Poco Associates, a partnership composed of the late Mr. Lewis M. Costello and the late Dr. Tunstall C. Powers. Poco Associates continued to rent out the log side of the property just as Miss Grove leased the stone side of the house to tenants during the same period. It was in this period that Judy and Rodney Wilfong lived in the stone side of the property and the family of Ms. Betty Milhon lived in the log side of the duplex. The Wilfongs lived in the stone side from May of 1974 to September of 1977 and had their first child while they were tenants. They were followed by Ms. Audrey Swope Hollar and her daughter.
In June of 1992 the Stone House Foundation purchased the log side of the property from Mr. Lewis M. Costello, the surviving member of the Poco Associates partnership, thus reuniting the two sides of the property once again. The last people to live in the reunited property were called “caretakers.” Winchester photographer Beverly Pearce lived there in 1992 and 1993. She was followed by John Todd, who was given permission to build a passageway between the two rear additions of the property. After Mr. Todd moved out in 1996 and Miss Grove passed away in 1997, the work to determine the property’s future as an exhibition building began.