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Fequently Asked Questions

How large is the building?


The Friends Home is 40 feet X 40 feet with hand-poured concrete walls, interior, and exterior, which go from the basement to the attic. This is why you will notice the plumbing and electrical work on the outside of the walls. The exterior of the building is local brick over the concrete, and the original roof was a red slate. The attic is an open floor plan with hand-cut wooden roof beams, wooden flooring, and windows on three sides. When complete, the Home was considered a modern marvel as it had hot/cold running water, bathrooms, hot water heat, and electricity. The electric company in Waynesville turned on the power village-wide in the evening and turned it off in the morning. In 1915, the Friends Home bought the Victrola, located on the first-floor sitting area, and had small concerts playing the records. These records are still stored in the storage section of the Victrola.


What is the difference between Quakers and Shakers?


Mother Anne Lee, who started the Shaker movement, was formerly a Quaker, and she did incorporate some of her Quaker backgrounds into Shaker practices: simplicity, financial responsibility, work ethic, and belief in the perfectibility of humankind... among them. She and her followers believed her to be the second incarnation of Christ. Shakers were a celibate sect and expanded their membership through adult conversions and the rearing of orphans, who were given a choice of joining the Shakers or going out into the world when they became of legal age. They were an exclusively American movement, mainly located in New England and New York. Their worship included many lively songs--and dances-- of praise to God. The Quakers originated in England in the mid-17th century. They rebelled against the rigid hierarchy and government control prevalent in the Anglican church and began meeting in homes or buildings without steeples, waiting upon God silently to make His presence felt and inwardly heard. Any person could be called by God to rise and preach upon any occasion of worship. They were much persecuted in England before finding refuge in the American colonies. They were, and are, very family-oriented, far from being celibate, and would not agree that Anne Lee is the second incarnation of Christ. They also have historically not withdrawn from the world but have been very active in the cause of social justice for the poor and oppressed, education, humanitarian relief, and the humane treatment of prisoners in penal institutions.

While Shakers have nearly died out, Quakerism, though limited in numbers, by comparison, to mainline and evangelical Protestants, is alive and growing, both in the USA and in Africa and South America and other nations overseas. Many have today adopted the custom of having a person designated as primarily a pastor, and most are neither white English-speaking nor North American since the greatest growth in the past generation has been outside of England and the USA.

This is a great abridgment and oversimplification of the histories of the two groups, Quakers and Shakers, but it gives you an indication of the major differences. For a good short, readable history of Quakers, I recommend to you Howard Brinton's *Friends for 300 Years*.


Julia Ewen
Atlanta Friends Meeting
Atlanta GA USA


Was it ever a nursing home?


No, the Home had 16 boarder rooms and four bathrooms and is unique in that it had first and second-floor sitting rooms where the border would entertain friends and family. Both men and women lived here, with the first border being Mary Terrell of Xenia. The staff consisted of a full-time superintendent, matron, cook, housekeeper, laundress, and outside farm help. With a large barn and grazing area behind the Home, it was self-sufficient in raising its vegetables, beef, pork, and chicken. Often on Sundays, the Home would be open to the town people for Sunday dinners costing 25 cents. Two oak tables would seat 25 people in the dining room, where meals were served three times daily with formal dining using china and linens.


In 1905, a small boarder's room would cost $3.50 per week ($91 a week adjusted for inflation), which included meals, housekeeping, and laundry. The Home would also have out-of-town quests (usually Quaker) who would book a room for a day to several weeks while visiting a local family. It was also used by female teachers who either attended the Lebanon Normal School or taught at the early Waynesville school across the street from the Friends Home.


The Miami Monthly Meeting used the Friends Home as a boarding home until the late 1980s and then leased it out as a group home for county MRDD people. It closed for good about 1997. It sat empty for about two years.


Did you have to be a Quaker to live at the Friends Home?


No, no one was ever turned away. There were many people who lived at the museum of the years. A local school teacher stayed during the school week and went home on the weekends. Before there were cars, it was not as easy to travel distances to work each day.


How much did it cost to build and what is the cost at today's rate?


The Friends Home was completed in November 1905 minus the front porch, for the sum of 10,000 dollars. The front porch was added in 1906. If it were built today, it would cost 2.6 million dollars to build.



How long did the Friends Home operate as a boarding home?


The Friends home opened in 1905 and operated until 1988.


Can I live here?


No, the friends home is now strictly a museum, and no one is permitted to live here.

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