Prolific author of horse books, Marguerite Henry, crisscrossed the country (and globe) throughout her 95 years. She traveled extensively, but also lived in various locations. As I researched for my latest book Marguerite, Misty and Me, I traced the locations where Marguerite Henry lived. The following blog post answers the questions as to her locations and homes
Marguerite was born in 1902 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Her family lived on Booth Street, which is still a residential area. The home is gone and a driveway is in place for the neighbor's house, a two-story blue Victorian. The street had been a very German neighborhood back in the day. One block over from the street is a public park which a sloping hill.
The brown and cream house in the main image for this blog post was where Marguerite lived when she was in college and when she met her husband Sidney. Its on Downer Street in Milwaukee. I believe it's a two-flat. This would have been walking distance to the high school and university she attended.
Chicago and Northern Illinois (by way of St. Louis)
When Marguerite wed husband Sidney, the newlyweds moved to the north side of Chicago. They had an apartment address on Sheridan Road. I'm thinking they lived in Rogers Park or perhaps even Uptown. I lived in Rogers Park in the early 2000s, where I taught middle school English for two years.
Next they moved around for Sidney's job as a traveling salesman. We know at one point they lived at least temporarily in Philadelphia (Marguerite cites calling on the Saturday Evening Post while in Philly) and they also are listed on a Census as living in St. Louis.
Following that Sidney and Marguerite Henry appear again in Freeport, Illinois where they live for a few years in the late thirties. In Freeport, Marguerite began writing children's picture books. I read one news article that said when she needed a quiet place to write she would head over to the town's Lutheran Cemetery.
From Freeport they move to Julian Street in Naperville. There is no home with their address and the homes are large and several of them quite new looking. At this point Sidney opens a five and dime store. Today a sandwich shop and furniture store are in the same building where his store was.
The real fun begins when the Henrys buy a two-acre plot with a "weathered ranch house" (Marguerite's words) in Wayne, Illinois. Marguerite names the property Mole Meadow and the stage is set for the couple to enter the world of horse ownership. In late 1946, Mole Meadow gets its first horse--pony really. And her name was Misty of Chincoteague. In addition to writing her popular best selling titles such as Justin Morgan had a horse, King of the Wind, sea star, and the like, Marguerite also penned some lesser known works such as Dear Readers and Riders and Muley Ears.
One of my interviewees for Marguerite, Misty and Me, my Marguerite Henry biography, said the Henrys were very proud of their small farm. Over time two more equine residents joined the family: a black Morgan horse named Friday and a small burro named Jiggs (he was Marguerite's inspiration while writing Brighty of the Grand Canyon.)
Westward to California
In the early 1970s the Henrys moved to Rancho Santa Fe, California. The climate was more agreeable for Sidney who was nearing 80. The couple enjoyed their ranch home on a hill, not far from the Pacific Ocean. They had a pool and fed hummingbirds. Sidney passed away in the mid 1980s and Marguerite continued to live in her home until she passed in 1997. She never retired from her writing career. She was working on a manuscript about her standard poodle when she died. Her ashes were spread at sea.
Marguerite Henry's home in Wayne, Illinois still exists and so does the three-stall barn. The current homeowner is very private, and I have heard through the grapevine requests are not uncommon to see the field where Misty of Chincoteague once grazed. If you too are a fan of the golden pony, head over to the corner of Dunham and Army Trail Roads in Wayne, Illinois. There you will see a sign for Misty's Meadow. Although it is not in the exact locale where the celebrity mare and her famous author lived, it's not far away. Rest assured, Misty traveled along the trails and fields of Wayne during her years with the Henrys. If you go there, you'll be walking in the wake of her glory.
For more Marguerite Henry and Misty of Chincoteague stories, grab your author-signed copy of Marguerite, Misty and Me at saddleseekshorse.shop.
Thanks for reading and happy reminiscing. You might also enjoy my Marguerite Henry Fan Club Facebook Page or want to follow my author journey @saddleseekshorse.