We have visited the Starr Family Home multiple times over the holidays to partake in crafts and story-time. We were so impressed by the beautiful grounds, informative staff and the history behind one of Marshall’s most prominent families. Site Manager, Barbara Judkins, graciously spent time with us answering our questions and introducing us to the family and their belongings. 90% of the furniture, decor and household items are from the 1870-1880 time period. The property is comprised of multiple homes including a school house. Since many children were raised in the home there is a nice collection of items from toys to furniture that interested our 5 year old daughter. While you certainly can’t let your children run wild in the home, it is one of the least “stuffy” historical sites I have been to. The tour is more conversational and not at all like a rehearsed lecture. The tour of Maplecroft, the main house only takes about 30-45 minutes but could be longer or shorter depending on you. The staff has a wealth of knowledge, plenty of fast facts and welcome your questions.
We took some lovely photographs and I would encourage you to bring your family and a picnic (weather permitting) so you can walk around and enjoy the grounds. I have shot family photos here on 2 separate occasions. As long as your photography doesn’t hinder other visitor’s experiences, you don’t need a permit. Set in the heart of downtown Marshall you may have driven by and not realized how expansive the property is. Sitting on 3.1 acres it opened to the public in 1986. One of my favorite rooms in the main house is the kitchen. With a working wood burning stove and original period pieces it truly feels like you stepped back in time. A few times a month Barbara and manager, Kellie Farr organize a “Cooking Day” utilizing the woodburning stove, ice box and The White House Cookbook. They are practicing in hopes of offering Foodways programs to the community to share knowledge and cooking experiences. I was invited as a local guest along with staff members to evaluate their progress. The buttermilk biscuits and blueberry compote were my favorites.
They host several events during the year from holiday themed children’s activities like the “Love Tour” to Celebrate Valentine’s Day. Complete with a photo booth, picture frame decoration station, bingo for the kids and a card making station. Kellie’s experience as a school teacher shines through with her patience and enthusiasm with children. She makes it apparent she loves what she does. Keep an eye out for upcoming events on their Facebook page, like “The Kitchen Table Book Club” for adults. I really enjoyed the clay dish workshop Kellie hosted and it made for a fun girl’s night out activity. They make an effort to keep prices low so events are accessible for every budget. The main house has a gift shop offering a variety of unique treasures. House tours are $4 for adults, $3 for seniors and students, kids under 5 are free. Portions of the grounds and the Blake House can be rented out for special events at a very reasonable rate as well.