Wednesday, October 13, 2010

~VISITING IVY GREEN - Childhood Home of Helen Keller~


Ever since I sat in Mr. Whalen's English class in the 7th grade and given the assignment of writing a report on the life of Miss Helen Keller I've dreamed of visiting her childhood home. 

Lovingly named, Ivy Green, by her grandparents when originally built back in 1820, it only took me about 38 years to make my way to the beautiful plot of land first made popular by a little girl who could neither see nor hear.

I don't know when it was that I first became fascinated with the story of  Helen Keller.  Maybe it was while watching a very young Patty Duke and Ann Bancroft in the movie The Miracle Worker with my mother back in the mid 1960's.
 ANN BANCROFT as Annie Sullivan
PATTY DUKE as Helen Keller
The Miracle Worker - 1962

Or, maybe the seed of curiosity was planted as a result of reading a couple of simple books about her life several years before my written assignment.  I can only tell you for certain that from as far back as my mind can go I've wanted to understand more about the triumphs of Helen Keller and the miracle that became the basis for the story of her life.

And so...about ten days ago my Mr. AGPMan and I backed away from our Oklahoma home and began the 11 hour drive that would take us to Northern Alabama and to a beautiful little town called Tuscumbia...

Even though my hubby and I knew ahead of time the House, which held a tiny museum, was closed on Sundays, we decided to drive from the town of Florence (where we stayed in a Bed and Breakfast) to Tuscumbia just the same.  It was only about 8 miles away and we both wanted to scout out the town and snoop around the grounds. We returned the next day to actually tour the inside of the house and to snap photos!

I love comparing the old pictures with the ones taken the day of our visit.  So much has changed and yet so much is still the same.  In 2020 the house will celebrate it's 200th birthday.

This charming little two-room structure was built as a 'bridal suite' for Helen's mother when she married her father, Captain Keller.  It was the very place Helen was born and also the dwelling where both she and her teacher, Annie Sullivan, would later reside during the early days of Helen's learning.

I found it very interesting that the water pump has stayed in it's original place.  A gazebo has been built over it but it's position has never changed.

Another thing I found very interesting was that the kitchen and cook's quarters were not in the main house.  They were housed in a separate building out back in order to avoid the possibility of a house fire.

I've decided I'm never ever going to complain again about my modern kitchen!  I can't even imagine having to cook in a place like this!


We were told that about 80% of the furniture and furnishings in the home actually belonged to the Kellers.  I find this amazing!

(Before moving next door)

Tomorrow I will show you the remaining pictures of the inside of the house and also a place on the property where a play about Helen's life is performed during the Summer months of June and July.

I'm off to finish up some Christmas Ornaments that I'll be uploading to my website later today!

Thank you for visiting and allowing me to share my heart with yours...

Love to you~


Caatje said...

Hi Rebecca, what a lovely trip you and your husband made. I know nothing about Helen Keller, but after writing this message I will go on the web and will find out more about this lady. Looking forward to see the rest of your photographs.

Love, Carina

Lin said...

Beautiful! I want to go now and see it for myself! Thanks for the sharing you beautiful photos.


Edie Marie's Attic said...

Hi Rebecca!

I've always been fascinated with Helen from an early age. What a wonderful trip to take and see the places she lived. Thank you so much for sharing this trip with us. Very very special!!


Marguerite (Tina) Smith Hart said...

I can hardly wait for the rest of the pictures Rebecca. I also would love to go there some day. My father's family were originally from Alabama and someday I would love to go research his genealogy there.
Have a fun day working on the ornaments, I know they must be very special!
Tina xo

Julie Marie said...

Hi Rebecca, these posts are just beautiful! I would so love to visit Helen Keller's home one day too... everything is just as I imagined it would be... what a legacy she has left for us... I also love your previous post and all of the glorious houses in the South... and I absolutely love the American flag proudly flying everywhere... the South is so beautiful... thanks for sharing... xoxo Julie Marie

Patty C. said...

Thanks for the tour - I have never been there - Interesting :)

Bluebell said...

I too remember the film with Anne Bancroft and it made such an impression on me. It is lovely that this wonderful lady is still remembered and what a lovely place to be remebered in. I look forward to seeing the rest of your photo's.

Oklahoma Granny said...

Thank you so much for the tour!

NanaDiana said...

Rebecca-Her life always fascinated me too. I bet I read the original story of her life 5 or 6 times when I was younger. It is amazing the gifts that God gave her...and how once she worked through her anger the gifts were there waiting for her.

Oh-and do you remember all those awful Helen Keller jokes that made the rounds back in the 1960's? I can STILL remember some of them!

Lovely post today-Can't wait to see the rest of the story. xxoo Diana

Cora said...

Although I live in southern Alabama, I have never visited this place. Thank you for sharing it with us. I so hope one day I too will be able to visit. Beautiful!

Raspberries and Rose Petals said...

What an interesting trip! I love visiting historical places like this ~ thank you for sharing your experience with us!

Olivia said...

This is so sweet thank you for sharing!

Beach House 27 said...

Hi Rebecca - I've been a lurker lately, life is so crazy busy there's no time for nothin. I too, have always been fascinated by Helen Keller and would love to one day visit her home.

My sister in law is a friend of Patty Duke's - her home in Brentwood was gorgeous. Her awards were displayed and lit in glass door cases on the wall in the formal living room, each room more gorgeous. In the cozy farm house family hangout room was an antique desk against a wall. The wall above the desk and the desk were completely devoted to Helen Keller. Personal items, gifts, letters, notes - everything Helen Keller gave her over the years until she died was sitting there and she told me they were her most treasured things. It's the most amazing collection I have ever seen and I felt honored just to see it.

Thank you for the photos - and this great post.

Thmini2 said...

I have always been facinated with Helen Keller. She was such a interesting and inspiring lady. I remember the pump well. It was such a break through for her! In the picture of you looking into Helen's room you look like you are seeing her there. You have such a peaceful look about you. God sure made sure that we learned from this great women. Her teacher, Miss Sullivan was also insiring. Teresa

Rose said...

it's great to see the old and new photos. this little house is so beautiful. thanks for the tour. rose

Bobbie said...

This is so interesting! I am intrigued by Helen Keller as well... and have enjoyed the tour. Looking forward to more... blessings your way, bobbi and gracie

Sandi@ Rose Chintz Cottage said...

Thank you Rebecca, for taking me along on your journey to one of my own fascinations! I have always loved the Helen Keller story and loved the movie with Bancroft and Duke in it. It's been a real pleasure to peek at the photos you took. Thank you so much for sharing them with us.


Home and Heart said...

I LOVE the 1962 movie!! One woman made such a difference in another's life. A good example for us all. That pump was instrumental. It looks like you had a great time. You take a lovely picture too!

Lee said...

Thank you for sharing your visit with us,what a wonderful collection of photos to tell the story of your visit.

Mary H said...

~~Rebecca~~It has been a bit since I have posted anything, but I just loved the tour of the Helen Keller Landmark. It made me reflect on a lady (actually a young lady/child) whose story I became fascinated with while living in Europe in the 70's...Anne Frank. The day my hubby and I were able to travel to Amsterdam and fulfill that dream of ever seeing and visiting the place her and her family were hidden during the war was just about the same as you felt. I too have a picture of myself alongside a picture of Anne in the place she called home for nearly 3 years hidden away as a Jew. I too love the story of Helen Keller and now would love to go see where she lived and grew up. Thank you for sharing with all of us and hope you were able to regenerate a little with your getaway. Love and blessing to you...always love your posts. The Mollie story was so cute...I chuckled...Mary H.

Jacoba said...

Very interesting to read and see!

Mari said...




Rita said...

Her life was so fascinating. I cannot imagine all of the things that she had to overcome to become the woman she was. I've always loved her story and I too enjoyed so much visiting her home. I'm so glad that you got to go and make this trip. It's one you'll always remember. Thanks for sharing these pictures. They brought back memories.

myletterstoemily said...

i loved the book and movie, too. what
an amazing woman. i'm so glad you
got to visit her home. thank you for
sharing with us!

Elizabeth and Gary said...

Hi Rebecca,
I really enjoyed your post. You took me to a place I might never have a chance to visit in person. How amazing that 80% of the furniture and furnishing belonged to the Kellers..
Beautiful antiques!
I couldn't imagine not being able to see or hear..truly an amazing story.
Have a sweet and hugs,Elizabeth

Daphne Nicole & Lynda Cade said...

Hi Rebecca, I've missed visiting lately, things have been so busy, haven't had much time for blogging! Thanks so much for taking us on such a lovely tour... I really enjoyed it! hugs~~~ Daphne

Deanna said...

Rebecca, This is so interesting to me. The pics you've shared are wonderful.

Very nice place to visit.

Amazing what Helen would do with her challenges in her life. Amazing.

God bless,

MFEO2009 said...

I wrote many reports on Helen Keller as well. What an inspiration! Those were cool pics to see & you are beautiful!

Blog Archive