The stately Main Hall epitomizes Richard Keith Call’s vision for balance, beauty, and resourcefulness. During the Call family’s life in the home, the central passageway served as a warm reception area for family and visitors and offered a venue for the gaiety of dancing in lieu of a more formal ballroom. After her father left The Grove, Ellen Call Long continued the tradition of lavishing unparalleled hospitality and graciousness on Tallahassee’s prominent citizens. After the Civil War, in stark contrast, she used this broad, spacious area to contain her 20-year experiment with raising silkworms. After Ellen’s passing, her granddaughter, Reinette, also entertained guests here in high fashion. Although the Main Hall continued its more traditional service under her ownership, it anchored quite a different ambiance than in earlier times. Reinette created an art studio in the southwest room, with the powerful scent of oil paint, linseed oil, and turpentine (and possibly one of her cigars) setting the bohemian, salon-like tone. When she and her family assumed possession of The Grove in 1942, Mary Call Darby Collins reclaimed her great-grandfather’s vision of simplicity and order, such that it honored her ancestral legacy and projected the image of a rising public servant, her husband of 10 years, Florida Senator Thomas LeRoy Collins. The photograph of the Main Hall, as see above, shows how it was restored and what it looked like during the Collins family era.
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