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Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - November 24, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 8A The Cedar Rapids Gazette: Sun., Nov. 24, 1974 Mt. Mercy Now Enjoys Judge Greene's View Note: Sister Mary Augustine Roth, chairman of the English department at Mt. Mercy college, gathered. Ihe information for this sfory in connection with a book she is working on. Her information comes from Sacred Heart Convent archives and the linn county recorder's office. This is the centennial year for the Sis- ters of Mercy. By Sister .Mary Augustine An alleged horse thief, an alleged counterfeiter, a supreme court judge, and the Sisters of Mercy have shared an intimate interest in the Mound Farm property where Sacred Heart Convent and Mt. Mercy college now stand. The first resident was Wil- liam Knowlcs who had a cabin on the south side of the mound in 1839. In 1840, he sold his claim to the notorious Broadys: a popu- lar family, charitable, well- dressed, and admired by day, but apparently a mixed lot by night. Two of the sons and both daughters were good peo- ple, but John Broady and his other three sons were report- edly horse thieves, who often escaped conviction because some of their numerous friends were on the juries. About a year and a half lat- er, when they moved north, the Broadys sold their Mound Farm claim to Joel Leverich, an alleged counterfeiter, but a man so politically powerful that "as Joel Leverich went, so went Linn county." Bought by Greene Leverich sold the properly in 1843 to Judge George Greene, one of the founders of Cedar Rapids, whose life was so closely tied to the develop- ment of the city that, it was said, "Hardly an enterprise of any importance was instituted in Cedar Rapids in which he was not financially associated or had voice in its manage- ment." The Judge's land encom- passed not only this 160 acres, but a third of the entire city, including the Central Park area south of the Mound, where the slate fair was held, 1871-78, and where the city's first baseball club played ils games. In the early 1850s, Judge Greene began to build a large brick and frame slruclure at the top of the hill, but in 1S56, just before the house was roofed, a tornado destroyed 'it. The Judge and his family lived meanwhile In an eight- room brick house near what is now Eighteenth and C avenue NE. By 1868, Ihe Judge had rebuilt (he mansion. It hud 16 rooms, four white marble fire- places (one of which Is pres- erved in the Heritage room at Sacred Heart and native black walnut wood- work. The library had book- cases ten feet high, resting on cupboards containing pigeon holes that, today at Sacred Heart, still are labeled 'with the Judge's handwriting. From the mansard roof, according to reports, one could "see way over Jones county and obtain a bird's eye view of the city that will last in the memfiry forever." In 1864, the Judge sold land to the Dubuque Southwestern Railroad, now the Chicago, Milwaukee, and, St. Paul, for right-of way over the proper- ty, getting from this transac- tion and 30 shares of file road's- common stock selling at a share. The Judge died on- June 23, 1880, without having made a will, leaving in person- al property and over in real estate. Mrs. Greene was awarded one-third of the estate, including the IliO seres known as Mound Farm. In 1889, Mrs. Greene mortgaged the land and her homo to Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. for and in 1894 she got an extension on the unpaid balance of the mortgage. Foreclosed When she was unable to meet payments, Northwesttrn Mutual foreclosed. The court ordered that Mound Farm be sold at public auction Oct. 21, There were no bids higher than the owed to Northwestern Mutual and the firm retained owner- ship. Shortly thereafter, re- cords show that Northwestern Mutual gave a deed of trust on the properly to a syndicate of Cedar Rapidians F. Braun, John S. Ely, E.E. Pinney, and Robert Williams. By 1898 they were listed as owners with a mortgage of They again allempled to sell the 160 Advertisements in The Ga- zette announced the sale of "the cream of Cedar Rapids real estate" and "the most attractive country residence in Iowa." The land was valued at an acre, and each acre was expected to he divided Into (our lots to sell at to each, depending upon Its location. Further, according to The Gazette, the city council had ordered asphalt paving to be laid to Mound Farm In the spring, streetcars came within three blocks, and "city water, gas, sidewalks, sanitary sew- er, and other public improve- ments" were soon to bo in- stalled. In spite of all this, Ihe bids were disappointingly low. Unable to get more than for the ten acres containing the-house, a bid the syndicate rejected, the auctioneer of- fered the entire 160 acres. Bid- digg started at and jumped in small intervals under repeated and increas- ingly hoarse urgings from the auctioneer. Major bidders were the syndicate itself, guarding its own interests, and W.L. Crissman and as- sociates. Eventually, the syndicate bid .higher lhan Ihe opposition's fi- nal offer. The day after the sale The Gazette reported "reliable as saying that a bid of an additional would have bought the land for Crissman. At any rate the syndicate retained ownership. In 1906 tho Sisters of Mercy were searching for a now home. Their original school and mothcrhouso on Third av- cnuo and Seventh street SE had become crowded. The Sisters considered the Sinclair summer home, now Bruccmore, but the price tag was far beyond their purse. They next Investigated Mound Farm. Uninhabited for nearly a decade since the foreclosure against Mrs. Greene, the buildings had served as grain storage and as a refuge for occasional hunt- ers, Some thought, had been given to establishing a ceme- tery on the land and Coe col- lege officials had looked at It as a possible expansion site. But even the Realtor's sales pitch that from the top of the house one could easily see the spires of Cornell college in Mt. Vcrnon was not enough to persuade Coe to buy so far out in the country. Sister Mary Gertrude, Ihen superior of the Sisters of Mercy, with a farsightedness vindicated in later'years, in March 1906, elected to lease the ten acres for five years. In April, the Sisters began re- modeling tho mansion lo ac- commodato a boarding school to open that September. Even- tually they added electricity lo replace tho candles and ker- osene lamps used by the Greenes, and had steam heat, bathrooms, and lavatories In- stalled. Decided To'Boy In March 1007, the Sisters decided lo buy the property. Opinions differ about ils price, but at a special meeting, administrators of the Con- gregation authorized the purchase of the ten acres "at a cost not to exceed lo pay down, and to give a mortgage for the remainder. In 1913, the Sisters mort- gaged other properties in Cedar Rapids to buy three major pieces of Mound Farm land adjoining their original purchase. Then in 1921 they mortgaged further to -buy about 30 acres loathe east of the mansion. By the end of April 1928, 'the -Mound Farm Real Estate Co. held a mortgage for on the Sisters' land and the Sisters owned 71 acres. The Mound Farm Real Estate Co. was a successor of the Mound Farm Land Co. wiiich was a suc- cessor of Ihe 4-man syndicate. Coe college at that time had certain funds to be used solely lo buy real estate. Consequent- ly, through dealings wilh the Mound Farm Co., Cue secured tho mortgage on the Sisters' properly. This mortgage was satisfied less than a year later, In 1929; and in 1956, 20 acres of (he land were sold to the Arch- diocese of for Regis high school. But for nearly a year there was quite unexpect- ed cooperation between Coe and the Sisters of Mercy. Today a molherhcuse and a college sland on the 51 acres where Knowles, Broady, Lev- erich, and the Greenes made their homes. The cabin and the mansion are gone, evicling any ghosts that might have lingered. Tho orchard is in part a parking lot, the slrawberry patch a football field, and cars roar where cows once- chewed in Knowlcs' cornfield. But the people of Cedar Rapids often come lo Ihe hill for a view of the cily. Their eyes probably are weaker Ihese days lhan in Ihe past however. Because how'many can see what the Cedaf Rapids Republican in 1906 suggested: a view of all seven of the counties bordering Linn.' This is how Mound Farm looks today. Judge Greene's mansion gave way to some of the Mt. Mercy college buildings and the new Sacred Heart Convent, completed in 1964. The convent is the right and can be identified by the octagonal chapel. Part of Regis high school is Visible, in the upper right. This view of the Heritage room in the Sacred Heart Convent shows mementoes-from Judge Greene's mansion the chandelier, bookcase and cupboard and white marble fireplace. Above the fireplace are drawings of the and of Sister Mary Agatha and Sister Mary Gertrude, early superiors of the Sisters of Mercy. The drawings are the work of Sister Margaret Ann McManus, Mt. Mercy college. 'New" Drugs Reach Back to Witch Doctors Whoever first said, nothing new under the might have been a pharmacist. For even as drugstore shelves become ever more crowded with the latest salves, pills, powders, and drops, the roots of many "new'' medica- tions reach back thousands of years. Some are rterinij iiicraiiv the leaves, stems, blossoms, or bark of trees, shrubs, and other plants that have been used for healing by tribal witch doctors and physicians altached to the courts of antiq- uity. In the September National Geographic, writer Lonnelle Aikman tells how pharmacol- ogical sleuths still arc unlock- ing the secrets of herbs. employed in early folk reme- dies. One of the oldest ingredi- ents of Chinese herbal medi- cine has been the man-shaped ginseng root, reputed to pos- sess the ability to restore vir- ility and health. Mrs. Aikman writes that mountain folk in Appalachin get as much as a pound for ginseng as researchers continue lo prohe Its possible The upper photo shows an 1 876 view of Judge Green's mansion on Mound Farm. The lower photo shows the mansion, on the left, "as it looked after conversion to Sacred Heart Convent by the Sisters of Mercy. The building to the right is the Sacred Heqrt academy, built in 1909. The Sisters of Mercy first leased the 1 0 acres of land on which the mansion stood in 1 906. How's Your Hearing? ON again COME IN FOR A FREE HEARING TEST HEARING AID SERVICE 337 Higiey Btdg. Call 364-4030 Picture your savings GROWING RATES PAID ON Ortifirak Vft% Mln. Term Years All interest is paid quarterly. Monthly income chocks available on all certificates. All accounts insured up lev by FSLIC. A SUBSTANTIAL PENALTY IS REQUIRED FOR EARLY WITHDRAWAL OF CERTIFICATES? savings loan association 1135 7th Avenue, MARION ill East 1st Street, MONTICELLO
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