Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Mom at Monmouth

We moved to the Shore in 1955.  Mom commuted to work in north Jersey, but that got old quickly.  She took a job at Monmouth Junior College in 1955.  Founded in 1933 as a two year college, they used Long Branch HS for classes at night and had offices in a house across the street.

President Dr. Schafer was a visionary and the moving force behind the school's expansion.  As they outgrew the high school he acquired the Shadow Lawn estate in West Long Branch.

The mansion was built in 1929 by Woolworth president (1919-1932)  Hubert and Maysie  Parsons for 10.5 million.  Here's a link to Shadow Lawn 's history.

It occupies the site of a  52 room, 1903 wooden building of the same name, built for John McCall, the president of NYLife Insurance Co.

1909 (photo courtesy of the Twp. of Ocean Historical Museum).

It was later owned by Captain Joseph Greenhut, a Civil War veteran and head of a NYC department store.  President Woodrow Wilson used it as his 1916 summer/fall White House. 
Wilson conducted his presidential campaign from the porches.  Hence it is now known as Wilson Hall.

Parsons purchased and renovated the wood building and over 100 acres in 1918 only to have it burn down in1927.


Only the barn survived the fire, to become the home of the University's Art Department (sans windmill) where I took some summer courses.

A new and fireproof residence was commissioned and finished in 1930.  The story I heard is that the nouveau riche upstarts were trying to break into the New York society circles.  They sent out invitations to the first party and no one came.   Parsons lost his fortune during the depression.  They sold produce in 1938 from the properties gardens and livestock to local stores but owed taxes.  Furnishing were eventually sold at auction. The mansion was sold in 1939 for $100 to the borough of West Long Branch.  A great deal for 130 rooms and 19 bathrooms.  Over 50 varieties of marble were used in the building.

It had been most recently known as Highland Manor School for Girls (1942-1956) an exclusive private school for girls run by Dr. Eugene Lehman and his wife.  It was then sold to Monmouth College in 1956.

My mom organized the office move,  Everything fit in the back of a pick up truck.  As Recorder her office was one of the unique marble bathrooms on the second floor.  Her's was petrified wood.  A board over the tub served as work space in addition to her desk.
Carol Asey, secretary and Mom in the main office about 1960.

In 1982 the movie Annie was filmed in the main building.  Annie comes dancing down the grand main staircase.  The party and circus acts were held outside.  Disney added the fireworks electronically.
This is a link to the Alumni video.  A bit long, but with great old pictures and clips, including some from Annie.
  
Here's Mom in our living room giving a tea for "her" Mu Alpha Phi sorority girls.  (I have those tea cups and the painting.)
 
She was a regular at the basketball games.  If you graduated from Monmouth College (now Monmouth University) Mom's signature is on your transcript.  Mom was at every registration and graduation.  She knew every student.  She signed every transcript up to her retirement in July 1985.   Go Hawks.

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