//Finding gratitude.

Finding gratitude.

I spent the afternoon at Spillian — giving friends Susan, Bernie, Marlene, and Bill a tour of house and woods, and working with Lanie and her crew to clear out the house. We’ve pulled a bunch of things out for a garage sale to benefit Fleischmanns, but there were a lot of things in the house that we didn’t think would work for this, and we were planning to throw most of it away.

Lanie runs an ad hoc group in Sullivan/Delaware Counties that informally helps people out who are in need, and they took almost everything that we didn’t know what to do with! Really amazing. There are a lot of people who live up here who are really struggling to survive.

The most meaningful story of the day — two little single beds that I’d happily have consigned to the dumpster were going to a couple who wanted to adopt their granddaughters. They’d been told by Child Services that the double bed they’d bought for the girls wasn’t going to work — they needed single, toddler-appropriate beds, or the girls would have to stay in foster care. Well, those two little white beds I thought were stupid don’t seem so stupid any longer…

Louis Fleischmann, one of the brothers who had a house on the hill, was the inventor of the term “bread line” when he gave free bread (and then jobs and family support) to struggling men who would come to smell bread baking in NYC at the Fleischmann family’s Vienna Bakery.(More on that here…) I think he would have been proud of us today…

I am very grateful. Grateful to have a chance to be in this gloriously beautiful place and grateful to be reminded that sometimes a bed is all that it takes to find happiness. Our thanks to Lanie and her crew to reminding us of that today.

2017-06-25T12:34:47+00:00 September 30th, 2012|Blog|8 Comments


  1. Jim February 10, 2013 at 3:10 am - Reply

    A wonderful place – I hope you don’t have to deface it by having to comply with modern building codes.

    You say in different places the house was built by Louis Fleischmann and by Charles Fleischmann, his brother. Which is it?

    • Leigh February 10, 2013 at 11:44 am - Reply

      Thanks, Jim! We’re doing our best to be true to the building and are working to have the lightest hand we possibly can while addressing code issues.

      The story on which Fleischmann is a little complicated. Charles Louis was the original purchaser of the entire lot, and we were told that this was his house. However, as we’ve done more research, we’ve found that all of the Fleischmanns involved in the company of that generation had houses there, plus a couple of the older sons. Our house, though, was actually owned by Max and Louise Fleischmann, and is the only house still standing. Max was the initial partner with Charles Louis in the company, and died fairly young.

      We’ve begun to share bits and pieces of the family’s history and interaction with the site on Facebook. Probably the easiest way to find it is by looking at some of the pictures we’ve posted on the Spillian timeline.

      The biggest house on the property was Louis Fleischmann’s.

      Charles Louis & Henrietta Fleischmann’s house, next to son Julius’ house:

      Hope this is helpful, and and thanks for asking! There were at least seven family houses on the hillside, plus several owned by friends. Lots of old foundations, and a fair amount of head-scratching as we try to put the pieces back together to figure out what was where.


  2. Jim February 11, 2013 at 10:35 pm - Reply

    Thanks Leigh, I hadn’t seen the Fb page. Nice old pics – even the (not) Honus Wagner. I see deeds Blish to Willie Fleischmann – wife of Louis, from 1883 – did I miss an earlier one?

    • Leigh February 11, 2013 at 10:41 pm - Reply

      Hi Jim:

      We have not yet had a chance to do a formal deed search all the way back to Blish’s sale of the property to the Fleischmanns, but all of the contemporary accounts list Charles Louis as the original purchaser (mentions in tne New York Times, etc.) We’ve also found reference to Charles Louis Fleischmann mentioned by name in some references to the property marking later deed transfers.

      Where are you finding the deeds that you’re looking at? And, if you don’t mind my asking, I’m curious about your relationship with the property or with the Fleischmann family? (This is a level of interest that’s beyond where most folks are…) 🙂

      Thanks for your interest!


  3. Jim February 12, 2013 at 3:33 pm - Reply

    No relations to family or house. It caught my eye when it was on the market and I did some digging. Can’t believe what’s in the paper or local history books. Louis is also credited with being the first up there, which makes more sense as he was in NYC. Sister Josephine and husband also were involved. Deeds here:
    Some of the Fleischmann deeds listed here, then go to Books:
    Surveys at Delhi but I’ve never been there.
    It’s a beauty – good luck with it!

    • Leigh February 12, 2013 at 4:28 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Jim. Thanks for the pointers to the deeds — hadn’t found this site before. Great! This should be really helpful.

      We’re midstream doing a National Register nomination for the property, so have been looking at a lot of history on it and the family and cross referencing a lot of sources. (My mother is a historic preservationist and we’ve been taking advantage of her expertise, among others, as well.) It’s a fascinating and pretty complex story — I believe that they actually bought the first parcel in 1882, if I’m remembering correctly from my notes. The family story is that Louis and Wilhemina were here first in the 1870’s, but they ended up buying here because Charles Louis’ health was dicey and he was told to get mountain air. There were apparently a couple of purchases made of more acreage during their ownership. (Blish was quite the entrepreneur!) We’re still not sure how many acres they eventually owned, and I’m not sure how they cut up the parcels.

      Actually, five of the seven siblings were involved (all of the siblings who were involved in the company — two other brothers ended up in Buffalo founding a brewery). So Charles Louis, Louis, Max, Josephine, Caroline and spouses all had houses on the hillside, along with a wife’s brother and several other friends — as well as a couple of the older children. Julius, Charles Louis’ son and the mayor of Cincinnati — and the gifter of the baseball field/park had his own house, as well as Charles Russell, who was one of Louis’ sons — his house burned early, a few years before they sold the property. As you suggest, Louis was in NYC — and their house was, from what we can tell from photos and postcards, the biggest. Charles Louis, Max Sr (not to be confused with Julius’ brother, Max), and Josephine and their were based in Cincinatti, Louis and Josephine’s husband Leopold Bleier ran the Vienna Model Bakery in NYC, and Carl Edelheim (Caroline’s husband) ran the Vienna Model Bakery in Philadelphia. Max Jr, Charles’ second son, ended up in CA for a while — and built the house where I got my doctorate!

      It’s like a giant jigsaw puzzle, just in this generation…then we get into the Edelsteins and other owners of our house and what happened to the other buildings and it’s like spaghetti! 🙂

      But it’s fun digging.

      Thanks for the links to the deeds!


  4. Sandra McCullough May 30, 2013 at 10:01 am - Reply

    Hi Leigh and Mark… It is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO good to get this news… how delicious and wonderful.. a house… creativity…. You are my heros… Love you madly… Sandra

    • Leigh May 30, 2013 at 2:47 pm - Reply

      Thank you, Sandra! So lovely to hear your voice virtually!
      Would love to catch up…

      All the best,

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