Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Dollhouse Heirloom on Display in Library

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Dollhouse Heirloom on Display in Library

Article excerpt

Byline: MAGGIE FITZROY

Parker Armstrong led a busy life as a U.S. Navy admiral in 1977 when he began building a large three-story dollhouse in his spare time.

When he retired two years later, he was able to devote much of his time to his creation, assisted by his wife, Jean, who helped decorate it.

After Parker Armstrong died six years ago, Jean worried about what would happen to their family heirloom. After consulting with daughters Carol Dillon and Alice Wilson, she decided to donate it to the Ponte Vedra Beach branch library, where it is on permanent display next to the children's section.

About 60 people, including Dillon, Wilson and Jean Armstrong, attended a dedication ceremony Wednesday in the library's community room, then surrounded the dollhouse for a blessing by Christ Episcopal Church Deacon Jo Hoskins, a longtime friend of the Armstrongs.

"My father loved to read books, so to have the dollhouse in a place that's surrounded by books is perfect," Dillon said.

"It's wonderful to have it here in Ponte Vedra," said Luisa Kuhn, a Friends of the Library board member and friend of Jean Armstrong. "It will be wonderful for children and adults. When you talk to adults, many of them say, 'I used to have a dollhouse when I was a child.'"

The Friends of the Library funded the project, which involved custom-building a Plexiglas case for the dollhouse, and installing electricity to the area to light it. Two Beaches-area artists, Jan Bialka and Barbara Sarvis, painted a blue sky backdrop that sits behind it.

The wooden white house has many electrified rooms, including bedrooms, sitting rooms, bathrooms, a living room and a kitchen. The roof is constructed from tongue depressors, which Parker Armstrong cut to create 1,500 shingles.

The Plexiglas will be removed several times a year so the dollhouse can be decorated for various holidays. This month, tiny wreaths hang on the front windows, garland hangs above the front door, and some of the rooms are decorated for Christmas. …

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