Media Specialist Liz Daube reported to Historic City News that nearly 60 women visited Markland House to attend the sixth annual Flagler College Spring Tea.
The traditional English “high tea” featured delectable treats, sweets and scones as well as aromatic teas and coffees.
Susan Abare, wife of Flagler College President William T. Abare, Jr., hosted the May 12 event with help from Cindy Woolfolk, wife of Dean of Academic Affairs Alan Woolfolk, and Nancy Russom, wife of Flagler Vice President of Business Services Kenneth Russom.
The Spring Tea event was developed to reach out to various women from the college and the community, while showcasing one of the historic gems of the campus, Markland House. The Colonial Revival house was built in 1839 and substantially enlarged and renovated in the 1890s. Markland House was acquired by Flagler College in 1968 and today is used for college events and receptions.
For the Spring Tea, the home’s dining table was laden with fine china, a silver tea seat and traditional teatime delicacies, including Devon cream, lemon curd, fruit scones, fresh berries, crumpets and petit fours. A lavish floral centerpiece featured tiger lilies, roses, hydrangeas and fragrant magnolia blooms picked from the trees on the Markland property. Lively piano music filled the halls as women in hats, summer dresses and gloves laughed and chatted.
Many guests remembered attending similar events at Markland House even before the College acquired the property. Patricia Tully, wearing a striking brown dress and hat, recalled social teas hosted at Markland in the 1960s, when the house was a private residence owned by the Wolfe family.
“Mrs. Wolfe gave many teas and coffees here, long before the college even existed,” Tully said. “The home was lovely then, as it is lovely now.”
Sue Hale agreed. “The tea event makes people curious about the house,” she said. “They want to come and see Markland House and talk about its history. There is such an air of elegance to this home.”
Lynette Wadsworth, who grew up just a few blocks from Markland on Almeria Street, wore a wide-brimmed hat and lively floral print dress as she chatted with Linda Mignon, a graduate of Flagler College and current member of the Alumni Board. “When else do you get an opportunity to pull out all the stops and wear a hat like this?” Mignon said, laughing.
While Markland went through a number of renovations during its nearly two centuries on the property, it enjoyed a special restoration project in the 1980s. The college asked Clarissa Anderson Gibbs, whose family built the home, to return to Markland to advise on its rehabilitation. Much of the interior décor reflects her memories of her childhood home.
“It’s so important that we preserve-and use-these historic buildings. That’s something that the college has made a priority through the years,” said Hale, who served as Chairman of Flagler’s President’s Council for 20 years. “The Spring Tea brings Markland House to life. It’s a pleasure to see.”
Woolfolk, attending the Spring Tea for the first time, spread her hands wide. “There could not be a more perfect setting for this event,” she said emphatically. “This is what Markland was meant for.”