This morning I attended the funeral of Helen Keene Warburton, 97, at Immaculate Conception Church. While the bell tolled out as mourners streamed out of the church my mind reflected on some of my personal experiences with this community-oriented individual, a true friend of historic preservation in Cecil County. In a reflective mood after the service, I drove to a nearby quiet spot, Elk Landing, a place that was important to Mrs. Warburton.
On those 62-undistrubed acres right in the center of the county’s most developed area, I ambled along the creek on this beautiful Wednesday in October. The sun was lifting the frosty overnight chill of mid-autumn so I couldn’t help but enjoy the serenity of this place. The Little Elk flowed silently along, while the wind caused colorful leaves to fall gently to the ground, and the sun illuminated the Hollingsworth House, a relic from about 1800. Not a sound disturbed the tranquility on this brilliant day.
I vividly remembered another time at the Landing over 8 years ago. It was a warm spring day about 12 months after we started working to save this historic site. One afternoon my phone rang and it was Mrs. Warburton calling to see if she could tour the place. I’d known her for decades and knew of her many civic minded interests, including historic preservation so I naturally was pleased to show her around. She had been instrumental in saving another part of our built environment back in the 1950s or ‘60s, Holly Hall.