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Paving Paradise: The Garden's Fate

Her husband's death in 1927 meant a loss of much of the King family income. Mrs. King was forced to sell her cherished home in Alma. It was purchased by the Ladies of the Modern Maccabees who in 1929 opened it as the Frances E. Burns Maccabees Home for Elderly Ladies. By that time Mrs King had resettled in New York. Of her old garden in Alma she later wrote:

The beauty of the four apple trees over the crosswalks, pleached to form a bower of leaves and fruit; the happy repetition of squares of brick and gravel in this upper garden, the delicate little distances of flower-bordered walks, of thick tunnellings, of green,of lilac, of deutzia, and of apple--all is so sweet, so exquisitely dear, each leaf and blade is so known and loved, that soon to see it in other hands is a martyrdom. But this--and more--gardeners must sometimes endure.

Although the Maccabees employed her long-time gardener, Frank Ankney, to maintain the grounds without Mrs. King's guiding spirit and considerable financial means the garden slowly decayed. The home closed in the late 1960s, and stood vacant until 1971, when Alma Public Schools opened it as an administrative building. The building was again sold in 1980 to Don Dewey of the Dewey Funeral Home. He built a parking lot between the building and the south lawn.