Washington Evening Journal

Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 22, 2017

Conger House opens

May 19, 2014

During a ceremony Sunday afternoon, a ribbon was cut to open Conger House to the public for the season. Present were, from left, Washington Historical Society members Mary Levy, Mike Kramme, Ferd Marie, Terry O’Neill, Dani Kane and Washington Chamber of Commerce Ambassador Merrill Mason.

Comments (5)
Posted by: Glen Peiffer | May 30, 2014 00:55

Perhaps the Historical Society members should write an in-depth article about the Conger House themselves with interior photos and have the Journal publish it. Why wait for the Journal?

Anyone truly interested in history should find an article about an historical home in Memphis or a classic novel equally interesting. What is confusing about that? If you are not interested and apparently you are not, that's fine. Others might be. I like to post articles that I find interesting without regard to how closely they relate to a particular Journal story although I see correlations that others may not. I am the type of person that finds an obscure article about coffee prices in Brazil on page twenty-five of the Los Angeles Times interesting. A lot of things that interest me don't interest other people.

Posted by: Terry O'Neill | May 29, 2014 22:06

Dear Editor,

I'm very confused.  How do the three articles by Glen Pfeifer relate to the grand reopening of Conger House Museum?  The picture of the ribbon cutting is great.  The names of the present board members are correct.

Could there possibly be more information on this local topic during the historical 175th anniversary that is regarding our community efforts to maintain such a beautiful museum.  Could the photos show the interior of Conger House rather than a lovely antique collection in Memphis Tennesee?  Am I missing something?  Active historical groups are working very, very hard. What is their motivation?  What results and participation are happening?  Surely, topics of local interest could be written if local is a priority?  L.Wittmayer-O'Neill

Posted by: Glen Peiffer | May 25, 2014 22:20

Videos of "their eyes were watching god

“A deeply soulful novel that comprehends love and cruelty, and separates the big people from the small of heart, without ever losing sympathy for those unfortunates who don’t know how to live properly.” —Zadie Smith

One of the most important and enduring books of the twentieth century, Their Eyes Were Watching God brings to life a Southern love story with the wit and pathos found only in the writing of Zora Neale Hurston. Out of print for almost thirty years—due largely to initial audiences’ rejection of its strong black female protagonist—Hurston’s classic has since its 1978 reissue become perhaps the most widely read and highly acclaimed novel in the canon of African-American literature.

Posted by: Glen Peiffer | May 20, 2014 16:47

Mary Helen McCoy’s distinguished reputation preceded her recent move to Memphis. I had heard through the grapevine that a prominent dealer of fine French antiques and her husband had moved to town late last year, having bought a charming and rather well-known old home off Central near Chickasaw Gardens.

It seemed everyone had met them at a series of parties in their honor, except, alas, me. Hoping to rectify the situation, I recently phoned Mary Helen and introduced myself. She in turn invited me to tour her little jewel box of a house and later graciously agreed to let us photograph it for this magazine.

Mary Helen explained how she had gone to France in early 1990 on a first-time buying trip and fell in love with French antiques, which led to her establishing a furniture gallery soon thereafter in Birmingham’s Mountain Brook village. She and her husband, Ron, later moved to Charleston, South Carolina, for five years, where they established a gallery on prestigious King Street. After the post-2008 economic downturn, however, they moved back to Birmingham, Mary Helen’s hometown, in the hope of finding a historic property where they could showcase their antique collection. When they couldn’t find exactly what they wanted, they began looking at Mississippi plantation houses, wishing to stay in the South.

That’s when Mary Helen came up with a perfect solution — Memphis. She knew the city because she had lived here at one point in the past and was further encouraged when so many of her colleagues in the rarefied international world of antiques wholeheartedly agreed that Memphis was a good choice for her business. Things really fell into place when the McCoys found their ideal house, one of distinguished provenance, complete with the requisite 12-foot ceilings. Done and done, as the saying goes!

Built in 1860, the McCoys’ new “old” home was originally a frame cottage on what was then the expansive Buntyn Estate. Over the decades, successive owners had lovingly preserved and renovated it, by, among other things, bricking over the exterior and adding a number of distinctive architectural features.  

The home has three bedrooms downstairs and one upstairs, with three baths. The McCoys have been careful not to change the footprint of the house and only completely renovated the kitchen and bathrooms. However, they made a number of urgent upgrades to the ductwork, the plumbing, and electrical systems, as well as to the structure itself. The process took six months, and they were able finally to move in last November. As is always the case, though, much more remains to be done, the next projects being work on the guest house and gardens.

For me, what makes this place so charming, along with the formal façade and the interior, museum-quality antique furniture, are the rustic touches such as the vintage pecky cyprus siding in the central hall. Features like this add period character and warmth to the home.

This article appears in the April 2014 issue of Memphis Magazine



Posted by: Glen Peiffer | May 20, 2014 14:11

A prominent dealer of fine French antiques moves to Memphis

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