According to family lore, this home was built for the Richard S. Willis family in 1854. It was called “Melrose” in memory of an estate owned by ancestors in Scotland. The builder was a well-known craftsman named John E. Shelton, who used hand-planed siding and pegged and mortised framework which was considered progressive in its day. The home started as a four room, story and a half house with a detached kitchen. Throughout the tour, one can trace the outline of the original footprint by noticing the wide plank flooring in the parlor, formal dining room and library.
When rooming was scarce and additional income was necessary for families during the Civil War, many opened their homes throughout the community. During this time, an outside stairway was added which allowed private access to upper rooms which were converted to rental units. After the war, the stairway was removed and new stairs were built inside the house. The massive lawn, with huge oak and pecan trees, quickly became a favorite place of many young people in town for picnics and romantic visits.
Home to many leading citizens of Montgomery including Dr. John L. Irion, a well-loved surgeon of the Confederate Army, this home was the birthplace of Gary I. Morriss, grandson of Dr. Irion and one of the founders of the American Legion. The Roy Waldrop family worked extensively on the outside structure in the 1960’s to restore the home. The Menefee’s restored the interior of the home by updating the kitchen, converting the old carriage house to a sitting room and adding an additional glass enclosed sunroom. They added oak block paneling in the library and finished the room above the kitchen as a guest apartment. They constructed a garage and workshop from the old dilapidated barn. Authentic gas light fixtures that have been converted to electricity are only part of the history which the home can boast. While she lived here, Dr. Linda Cecil replaced the entire roof.
In 2008, the house was purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Shepherd (Mr. Shepherd is the great-great grandson of the builder, Mr. John E. Shelton). They repainted the outside a soft yellow color with white trim and green shutters and updated the inside walls. During Hurricane Ike in September, 2008, Melrose sheltered four families from the winds and rain. There have now only been ten different owners of this historic home in the last 158 years.
Hodge Podge Lodge at Melrose House 2012
On August 27th, Nicola Weems and her husband John Baxendale, toured the house and knew in the first few steps that this home had many more memories to make. They envisioned a community gathering place where people celebrate milestones and each other. Within months, with the generous help of family, friends and a very capable, well loved, small group of contractors, Hodge Podge Lodge was born, at Melrose House. Open for business in December 2012, the lodge and event center offers overnight stays for small groups and individuals as well as events of all sizes-from intimate dinner parties, birthday and graduation gatherings to weddings. It is also home to many creative classes and is available for retreats of all kinds.
Hodge Podge Lodge acquires new owners in 2016!
On September 6, 2016, new owners and long time Montgomery residents, Jeff and Mistie Angelo took the baton as the new owners and began a new era in the life of this storied venue. Plans for a new pergola over the patio, enclosing the open pavilion, adding a commercial kitchen and farm to fork eatery as well as offering on-site catering services quickly have begun to materialize. These improvements along with many more are sure to set HPL apart from all others as a premier wedding and events center for years to come!
We are blessed you visited us, and hope you and your loved ones will join us in continuing to create long lasting memories to add to the long standing warmth of this Montgomery County treasure.
Our goal is for the only tough part of your stay is to be saying so long!
You’re always welcome,
Jeff & Mistie Angelo