04 May A Visit to Hill House, Original Home of Murray Martin
I had never been to Murray Martin’s house (Hill House) before today. I met Murray many years ago when she used to attend Resident Artist, Billie Shelburn’s painting classes. Murray Martin came to Brasstown in 1935 and was a craft teacher at the Folk School during the time of Folk School founders, Olive Campbell and Marguerite Bidstrup. She certainly gave a lot to the school and the community. To help local folks make a better living, the Brasstown Carvers were mentored by Murray and rose to a place of national recognition for their carvings. She retired in 1973 and lived in Hill House from the 1970s until her death in 2005.
Hill House is one of the many buildings on campus designed by original Folk School architect and instructor, Leon Deschamps. Danish style architecture with dormers embrace the lovely views. The front facing view has curved stone steps upward to a small deck. The half-heart shaped ironwork stair railing is repeated in quiet simplicity. A full heart pattern repeats on the hinged fireplace screen, whose rock chimney sits centered in what is now an open room. The contractor and a carpenter have almost got the underneath flooring installed. They show me pictures of these same wooden panels for the flooring, being used first to brace the outside stone walls while additional concrete is poured into rebar to reinforce inner walls. Obviously, it is no small effort to restore an old house of this nature. This house will be a place for Folk School students to stay when finished. Students are gonna love living here – I know I would!