Why You Should Fight For Green Gables
In 1895, successful metallurgist William Twining Wells and his wife, Nora, a New York socialite, settled on Melbourne to build their winter home.
Green Gables was built in 1896 as a basic four square house, but soon became a beautiful Queen Anne style home. It is located along the scenic Indian River on US 1, just south of Hibiscus Boulevard. It was the first home in Melbourne with an indoor bathroom and tub and the first house wired for electricity. The original site consisted of 150 acres. Today, the house sits on 1⅓ acres with beautiful oak and palm trees.
Mr. and Mrs. Wells proceeded to donate large amounts of land to the city, built the first library, auditorium and high school. Along with the other prominent families, such as the Goodes, Platts, Meehans and Gleasons, the Wells family brought culture, entertainment, commerce and class to Melbourne.
Now, I help fight to save this historic home. The nonprofit Green Gables at Historic Riverview Village, Inc. has until April to raise the remaining $285,000 needed for the $1 million dollar purchase in order to save the house and property. If they fail, the historic site will be sold to developers and could become just another gas station or office building.
A small group of dedicated volunteers and I refuse to let this happen. We have made necessary repairs, staged the home with period correct furniture, started a Living History Education Program where schoolchildren, scouts and homeschool groups come to experience what life was like in the late 1800s, making soap or ice cream and playing games the children would have played back then.
We hold community events like Easter egg hunts, a living nativity, harvest festival, themed parties, tribute dinners, concerts, pet adoption events and more. We’ve had two weddings and numerous photo sessions. We offer tours every Saturday from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. and often host “tea on the octagon porch.”
Green Gables has proven to be an oasis in the middle of a busy, developing downtown. It should be obvious, then, why I spend so much time, effort and personal finances to try and save Green Gables and restore it as a living history museum and center for community engagement in the heart of Melbourne.
Nothing can compare with learning by experiencing — being able to touch, to see, to do. Our living history education program touches the hearts and minds of so many children and makes our local and state history come alive for them. The children who experience our program always ask when they can we return. We need to make sure they have Green Gables to come back to, and it’s not reduced to just words and photos in a book.
This is what motivates me to work so hard. We MUST find a way to save this historical and environmental treasure.
To learn more and help with fundraising of the $285,000 needed to obtain a matching grant and save Green Gables, visit www.greengables.org or call President Marion Ambrose at 321-794-8901.
Marion Ambrose is a wife, mother, teacher, published author and community volunteer. She serves as president of Green Gables at Historic Riverview Village, Inc. and as president of GFWC Melbourne Woman’s Club — a community service organization founded in 1912.
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