Thursday, August 11, 2016

Belle Skinner: The Difference One Woman Made


Wistariahurst is the beautiful building it is today because of the impact Belle Skinner made on its gardens, its Music Room, and its interior design. It stands as a monument to her love of family, her expert decision-making, and her fine sense of design.
But there is another monument to her life and work, and that is in a tiny village in France, named Hattonchatel. The village was all-but destroyed during World War I. After first seeing the French countryside she loved destroyed by war, Miss Skinner cabled home: “War is awful.” But these sights impelled her to declare: “I can make a difference.” And she did.
With her brother William’s financial support, she rebuilt this war-torn village. In 1923, on the fifth anniversary of the deliverance of the village by the Franco-American forces, President Millerand awarded Miss Skinner with the French Legion of Honor for her practical devotion to France and her work in a “Celebration of the Reconstitution of the Village.”
Belle Skinner’s great-niece, Holly Hudnut Halliday, brings this story to life in an illustrated lecture on how a visionary woman from Holyoke captured the imagination of France. Inspired by this woman ahead of her time, Holly Halliday draws on family stories, letters, and her many visits to Wistariahurst when her grandmother, Katharine Skinner Kilborne, lived here. Holly Halliday serves on the Board of Historic Holyoke at Wistariahurst, and is delighted to see first-hand how this building is serving the needs of those living in the 21st century.
The talk will be followed by an optional tour of Wistariahurst focused on the impact of Belle Skinner on Wistariahurst and the Holyoke community.
Proceeds from this program benefit the ongoing work of Wistariahurst to preserve and share the history of Holyoke.
The event will be Wednesday September 14 from 6 - 7 pm and is $7, $5 for Members/Seniors/Students

To purchase tickets please visit the website.

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