Mama Rose thompson Hovick (Gypsy Rose...

Mama Rose thompson Hovick (Gypsy Rose Lee) site of farm

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mmcphd

Woodbury, CT

#1 May 25, 2008
Jun Havoc and Gypst rose lee's mother Rose Thompson Hovick was bouth a farm in Highland Mills which was used as a kind of lesbian commune. she was being supported by Gypsy Rose and the farm was bought by Gypsy. This must have been in the late 40's and 50's--any information for research would be appreciated. Not intending any harm to Highland Mills NY. thanks--
Penny

New York, NY

#2 Jul 23, 2008
I've done some research on this too - the name of the place was called Witchwood Manor, but that's all I've been able to find - there doesn't seem to be a street address listed anywhere.

What aspect of this are you researching?
mmcphd wrote:
Jun Havoc and Gypst rose lee's mother Rose Thompson Hovick was bouth a farm in Highland Mills which was used as a kind of lesbian commune. she was being supported by Gypsy Rose and the farm was bought by Gypsy. This must have been in the late 40's and 50's--any information for research would be appreciated. Not intending any harm to Highland Mills NY. thanks--
George CCHS

Wurtsboro, NY

#3 Jul 26, 2008
My mother used to live only a few hundred feet from the center of Highland Mills and just about 1.5 miles from Gypsy Rose Lee's home. My mother's Italian Irish family was poor and my grandfather would do whatever job necessary to keep the family feed. He and the oldest of his daughters would work at Gypsy Rose's estate. Gypsy Rose stopped by my grandparent's home many a time to give hand-me-down clothes to the family. She even gave my mother a beautiful blue sequent dress that she made from one of her own dresses. Gypsy Rose also made hats and my mother still has one. Sometime around 1937 or 1938, she gave my grandmother a pair of jade colored soap stone elephants (which we still have) as a gift. As best my mother remembers is that the estate was about 1.5 miles on the left side of old Rt 6 heading toward Monroe from the center of Highland Mills. There used to be a bumpy dirt road that lead up to the house back in the late 1930's and the property even back then was known as Whichwood Manor. We tried to find the road last year without success due to all the vegetation but I think the entrance maybe near the road on the opposite side of the estate that leads to a sub division and a golf course. I'm not really sure about that. It's too bad we do not have any photos of Gypsy Rose Lee in her car in front of my grandparents house or posing with the family. I hope you enjoyed the story and will help you in your quest. Best of luck.
Penny

New York, NY

#4 Aug 1, 2008
George, wow, what a story! Can you email me at [email protected]? I have a few questions I would love to ask you and your family members.
George CCHS

Wurtsboro, NY

#5 Aug 3, 2008
An email has been sent to you from my aquariusdude email address.
Rich Ellis

Brooklyn, NY

#6 Aug 6, 2008
Witchwood Manor is still as beautiful and private as it was when Gypsy and Moma Rose were there. It is located off the main road in Highland Mills, only 60 min. from NYC.

The house is a circa 1901 Georgian Colonial, in excellent condition, 3 stories, 3 fireplaces, plus a sep. barn w/apt. above, ingrnd pool, a sep. deeded 2nd rental house, and COMPLETE PRIVACY.

Gypsy added two symetrical wings to the house, I think in the 1940s; she had great taste - from an architectural point of view, the wings (on each side of the main house) are perfect.

However the best feature of the house is a practice stage that was put in the basement level for Gypsy; complete with these very old theatre lights (we're hesitant to turn them on, as they look too old!).

I just listed the house for the current owners who have been there for about 41 years; they are the 3rd owner after Gypsy.

If you have any questions, please email me at [email protected]
Penny

New York, NY

#7 Aug 7, 2008
Thanks, Rich - I've emailed you.
Penny
George CCHS

Wurtsboro, NY

#8 Aug 12, 2008
Rich Ellis wrote:
Witchwood Manor is still as beautiful and private as it was when Gypsy and Moma Rose were there. It is located off the main road in Highland Mills, only 60 min. from NYC.
The house is a circa 1901 Georgian Colonial, in excellent condition, 3 stories, 3 fireplaces, plus a sep. barn w/apt. above, ingrnd pool, a sep. deeded 2nd rental house, and COMPLETE PRIVACY.
Gypsy added two symetrical wings to the house, I think in the 1940s; she had great taste - from an architectural point of view, the wings (on each side of the main house) are perfect.
However the best feature of the house is a practice stage that was put in the basement level for Gypsy; complete with these very old theatre lights (we're hesitant to turn them on, as they look too old!).
I just listed the house for the current owners who have been there for about 41 years; they are the 3rd owner after Gypsy.
If you have any questions, please email me at [email protected]
i would be hesitant as well. Probably old aluminum wiring and may have cloth covering rather than vinyl as today. You could have a melt down of the wiring, be very careful to have it inspected first.
George CCHS

Wurtsboro, NY

#9 Aug 12, 2008
George CCHS wrote:
My mother used to live only a few hundred feet from the center of Highland Mills and just about 1.5 miles from Gypsy Rose Lee's home. My mother's Italian Irish family was poor and my grandfather would do whatever job necessary to keep the family feed. He and the oldest of his daughters would work at Gypsy Rose's estate. Gypsy Rose stopped by my grandparent's home many a time to give hand-me-down clothes to the family. She even gave my mother a beautiful blue sequent dress that she made from one of her own dresses. Gypsy Rose also made hats and my mother still has one. Sometime around 1937 or 1938, she gave my grandmother a pair of jade colored soap stone elephants (which we still have) as a gift. As best my mother remembers is that the estate was about 1.5 miles on the left side of old Rt 6 heading toward Monroe from the center of Highland Mills. There used to be a bumpy dirt road that lead up to the house back in the late 1930's and the property even back then was known as Whichwood Manor. We tried to find the road last year without success due to all the vegetation but I think the entrance maybe near the road on the opposite side of the estate that leads to a sub division and a golf course. I'm not really sure about that. It's too bad we do not have any photos of Gypsy Rose Lee in her car in front of my grandparents house or posing with the family. I hope you enjoyed the story and will help you in your quest. Best of luck.
My mother can not remember how Gypsy Rose Lee and her parents made their original connection. Since my grandfather was a handyman around town maybe she heard around town that there was a poor first generation Italian/Irish family living just 4 doors down the road from her. We really don't know how the connection was made by my mother's family was always great full to GRS. My mother and her older sister would work by pulling weeds out of GRL's flower gardens. She remembers hearing a baby cry in the house but never saw the baby. I guess this couldn't have been Erik Lee Preminger because he was born 12/11/1944. By 1944 my mother was working with her older sister at Firth Carpet in Cornwall.

GRL used to stop by my grandparents house in her beautiful, luxurious car which she thinks was a Rolls Royce. Sometimes she would have dogs or a monkey in the car. She often stopped and my grandparents would give her fresh vegetables from the garden. She was always pleasant, courteous, and smiling. My mother remembers her as having a rough voice maybe from all the smoking she did. Once, GRL gave Christmas (possibly 1934 or 1935) gifts to my mother, her two sisters and her one brother. My mother received a negro doll and possible the family was given a meal for the day. The doll was broken sometime later by her brother. GRL also gave the children a toboggan which I think we have a photo of with the kids playing on it.

As far a women living with GRS, my mother remembers Jeanie (Jennie?) Bradly (Bradley?) who is buried in the Highlands Cemetery in Highland Mills near my grandparents. There was another woman by the name of Dorothy but the last name eludes my mother. On the same road lived a woman by the name of Mary Pickford ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Pickford ) and a man named George Cohan ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_M._Cohan ) who used to jog by their house. Sometimes he would stop to visit for a few minutes but mom remembers him usually saying, "sorry no time to talk today". My mother never met or saw GRL's sister June Havoc.
cakygrin

New York, NY

#10 Sep 8, 2008
Penny wrote:
Thanks, Rich - I've emailed you.
Penny
I was invited to lunch at Witchwood in the mid 1980's. I was a student at the time, and a big GYPSY fan. I remember the swimming pool, and have a vague recollection of the house. However, I remember three distinct things.
1. The miniature stage complete with a lighting system (licos and fresnells, I believe) was on the lowest level of the house - at time I think also doubled as a laundry room. Best of all was a small engraved sign by the lighting board or near the stage; it read something like this "FOR CHEZ MERDE MIZZY - from the crew at Radio City Music Hall 1939" - this is probably not the exact wording - as I only saw it once over 20 years ago, but I think it's pretty darn close. The stage itself was just one step higher than the floor and couldn't have been more than 15' x 6'. The room itself was of average height, I believe.

2. The Dining Room had one, possibly two, corner (triangular) cabinets. This is recall, because my host showed me a LIFE magazine article on GRL that included a photo of the room. I remember comparing the picture to the actual room.

3. The last thing I remember was being shown the room where Madame Rose supposedly shot and killed her girlfriend.

I hope these small (and rather random) memories are of interest to you.

Cheers.
George CCHS

Wurtsboro, NY

#11 Sep 10, 2008
cakygrin wrote:
<quoted text>
I was invited to lunch at Witchwood in the mid 1980's. I was a student at the time, and a big GYPSY fan. I remember the swimming pool, and have a vague recollection of the house. However, I remember three distinct things.
1. The miniature stage complete with a lighting system (licos and fresnells, I believe) was on the lowest level of the house - at time I think also doubled as a laundry room. Best of all was a small engraved sign by the lighting board or near the stage; it read something like this "FOR CHEZ MERDE MIZZY - from the crew at Radio City Music Hall 1939" - this is probably not the exact wording - as I only saw it once over 20 years ago, but I think it's pretty darn close. The stage itself was just one step higher than the floor and couldn't have been more than 15' x 6'. The room itself was of average height, I believe.
2. The Dining Room had one, possibly two, corner (triangular) cabinets. This is recall, because my host showed me a LIFE magazine article on GRL that included a photo of the room. I remember comparing the picture to the actual room.
3. The last thing I remember was being shown the room where Madame Rose supposedly shot and killed her girlfriend.
I hope these small (and rather random) memories are of interest to you.
Cheers.
Check out GRL's house for sale at http://org.mlxchange.com/Pub/EmailView.asp...
Penny

New York, NY

#12 Sep 11, 2008
Cakygrin, all of what you wrote is fascinating! Which room was it where Rose allegedly shot the woman? I've never seen anything quite like the newspapers of the day; some say it was the bathroom, some say it was the bedroom. I'm at a loss to understand how the reports can't even agree on what room it happened in!
George CCHS

Wurtsboro, NY

#13 Sep 12, 2008
cakygrin wrote:
<quoted text>
I was invited to lunch at Witchwood in the mid 1980's. I was a student at the time, and a big GYPSY fan. I remember the swimming pool, and have a vague recollection of the house. However, I remember three distinct things.
1. The miniature stage complete with a lighting system (licos and fresnells, I believe) was on the lowest level of the house - at time I think also doubled as a laundry room. Best of all was a small engraved sign by the lighting board or near the stage; it read something like this "FOR CHEZ MERDE MIZZY - from the crew at Radio City Music Hall 1939" - this is probably not the exact wording - as I only saw it once over 20 years ago, but I think it's pretty darn close. The stage itself was just one step higher than the floor and couldn't have been more than 15' x 6'. The room itself was of average height, I believe.
2. The Dining Room had one, possibly two, corner (triangular) cabinets. This is recall, because my host showed me a LIFE magazine article on GRL that included a photo of the room. I remember comparing the picture to the actual room.
3. The last thing I remember was being shown the room where Madame Rose supposedly shot and killed her girlfriend.
I hope these small (and rather random) memories are of interest to you.
Cheers.
Do you have any information about two women that lived with GRL sometime in the 1930s maybe even into the early 1940s? Their names were Genevieve Bradley and Dorothy Hollis. They are buried next to each other in the Highland Mills cemetery.
George CCHS

Wurtsboro, NY

#14 Sep 14, 2008
Penny wrote:
Cakygrin, all of what you wrote is fascinating! Which room was it where Rose allegedly shot the woman? I've never seen anything quite like the newspapers of the day; some say it was the bathroom, some say it was the bedroom. I'm at a loss to understand how the reports can't even agree on what room it happened in!
Penny, have you tried to get the police reports from that day. I guess it would be Monroe or Central Valley police. I wouldn't think these would be confidential files any longer.
cakygrin

New York, NY

#15 Oct 7, 2008
Penny wrote:
Cakygrin, all of what you wrote is fascinating! Which room was it where Rose allegedly shot the woman? I've never seen anything quite like the newspapers of the day; some say it was the bathroom, some say it was the bedroom. I'm at a loss to understand how the reports can't even agree on what room it happened in!
Hi Penny, I remember it being a bedroom - i don't remember which. I also remember some talk about the original stained carpet, perhaps that it was in the house when the owners bought it? I don't remember, precisely.
I clicked on the link that one of the other people posted - and there's a picture of the corner cabinet - just as I remembered. Not as interesting as a stained carpet or the stage, of course. Isn't it funny the random things the mind remembers?

Have you ever seen GRL's townhouse on East 63rd Street? It's quite attractive from the street. Sort of a Spanish Renaissance style. It's on the north side of East 63rd between Lex and 3rd. Here's a link to story about the block.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/15/realestate/...
cakygrin

New York, NY

#16 Oct 7, 2008
George CCHS wrote:
<quoted text>
Do you have any information about two women that lived with GRL sometime in the 1930s maybe even into the early 1940s? Their names were Genevieve Bradley and Dorothy Hollis. They are buried next to each other in the Highland Mills cemetery.
No I don't. I'm sorry.
cakygrin

New York, NY

#17 Oct 7, 2008
George CCHS wrote:
<quoted text>
Check out GRL's house for sale at http://org.mlxchange.com/Pub/EmailView.asp...
Thanks for the link, George!
Look at the dining room pic - there's the built in cabinet!
Cheers

Since: Feb 09

New York, NY

#18 Feb 14, 2009
George CCHS wrote:
My mother used to live only a few hundred feet from the center of Highland Mills and just about 1.5 miles from Gypsy Rose Lee's home. My mother's Italian Irish family was poor and my grandfather would do whatever job necessary to keep the family feed. He and the oldest of his daughters would work at Gypsy Rose's estate. Gypsy Rose stopped by my grandparent's home many a time to give hand-me-down clothes to the family. She even gave my mother a beautiful blue sequent dress that she made from one of her own dresses. Gypsy Rose also made hats and my mother still has one. Sometime around 1937 or 1938, she gave my grandmother a pair of jade colored soap stone elephants (which we still have) as a gift. As best my mother remembers is that the estate was about 1.5 miles on the left side of old Rt 6 heading toward Monroe from the center of Highland Mills. There used to be a bumpy dirt road that lead up to the house back in the late 1930's and the property even back then was known as Whichwood Manor. We tried to find the road last year without success due to all the vegetation but I think the entrance maybe near the road on the opposite side of the estate that leads to a sub division and a golf course. I'm not really sure about that. It's too bad we do not have any photos of Gypsy Rose Lee in her car in front of my grandparents house or posing with the family. I hope you enjoyed the story and will help you in your quest. Best of luck.
Hi George,

I'm late to this forum, obviously, but I just stumbled upon your wonderful story. I'd love to hear more (I'm a friend of June Havoc's). Do you have an email address where I can reach you?

Thank you.
George CCHS 1965

Wurtsboro, NY

#19 Mar 1, 2009
Contact Penny [email protected] she is doing research about June. I'm afraid I don't have much more to offer my mom has Alzheimer's now.
tarynrose wrote:
<quoted text>
Hi George,
I'm late to this forum, obviously, but I just stumbled upon your wonderful story. I'd love to hear more (I'm a friend of June Havoc's). Do you have an email address where I can reach you?
Thank you.
Gail Bates

AOL

#20 Jun 8, 2009
Thanks to everyone who wrote about Witchwood Manor and its fascinating history! I visited there last month and was able to tour the entire house and the property. The house has been sold and a new owner will be moving in shortly. My family owned this home from about 1952-1968. I can share lots of information with anyone who is interested. You can write me at [email protected] The house is virtually the same structurally and of course, it is quite lovely. My father built the pool and the adjacent cabana. I don't believe, however, that the current owners are the 3rd after Gypsy because we purchased it from (I believe) Maurice Handman and when we sold it, it was not to the current owners. There were some in between. I can also supply more accurate information as to the exact location.

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