Look Homeward, Angel

Polly Marquette has lived in the shadow of Central Baptist Hospital for most of her life.

After being born at the hospital and a brief stint in Richmond, Polly moved into the house her grandparents built in 1940 with her parents and grandmother. In 1968, Polly was in first grade and had just moved back to Lexington, which was still a small town. Nowhere was this more apparent than Cherokee Park. "After school we would all throw down our books and run to the median to play kickball," recalls Polly of her childhood years spent on the park where she was never without a playmate.

She lived in the house her parents eventually bought from her grandmother, and still own, until she married Brack Marquette in 1983. Again she moved away.

Thomas Wolfe claims you can't go home again. But sometimes you can. And you can find your parents.

In 1993, Polly and Brack were about to make an offer on a house when they learned 108 Cherokee Park was in bankruptcy and had not been occupied for two years. They began toying with the idea of trying to buy it instead of the house they had chosen in another neighborhood.

Polly questioned the prudence of living down the street from her parents and under the eye of neighbors she had known from childhood.

Once they decided the pluses of living on the park outweighed the minuses of any possibility that familiarity breeds contempt - they persevered in buying the house through the difficulty of bankruptcy court. And they have never looked back with regret.

Their children play with the children and grandchildren of Polly's long-time neighbors as well as the children of new families who have moved to this quiet enclave of 36 houses. "There are two families with five children each who live on the street," says Polly. That's more than enough for a decent game of kickball right there.

As I arrived, Polly was planting huge yellow mums in the front yard amidst a curving lushly planted bed of flowering shrubs that sets of the solid, square, almost arts and crafts-style facade of her two story brick house. A large front porch with its offset front door looks out over a large front yard and onto the median.

From the service entrance at the side of the house, stairs lead to the hall and kitchen, passing Shaker-style hooks for coats that set the tone for the house - well-planned straightforward design that recalls the efficiency and the style of both the Shakers and arts and crafts masters.

The Marquettes pack quite a bit of living into limited space. And they use the space creatively. I opened what I thought would be a coat closet to find rows of neat shelves stacked with what looked to be thousands of toys. The kitchen contains a huge amount of luxury and, again, efficiency for its 140 square feet. Cherry cabinets and solid-surface granite-colored countertops form a U-shaped kitchen that has all the essentials and leaves the sink appliances and pots and pans within arm's reach. A window over the sink opens the room and keeps it from feeling cramped.

Both the kitchen and dining room lead to a brightly-lit sunroom. French doors open from the sunroom onto a large deck and a fully fenced garden, which is the back of the 248-foot lot.

Polly and Brack have clearly put a great deal of time, energy, thought, and yes, money into this impeccably styled house, which makes it hard to imagine them leaving.

Neighbor (and mayor Pam Miller) pulled up in front of the house after seeing a "For Sale" sign in the yard. She rolled down her window to ask why the are leaving. Polly said, "well, the two kids and the one bathroom." Mayor Miller looked down her nose and replied, "I raised three children with only one bathroom."

My advice to anyone wanting to buy this house: Hurry. Because if the Marqettes think too much about it or if any more neighbors go to work convincing them to stay, they aren't leaving. The pull of home may just be too strong.


108 Cherokee Park


2224 square feet

4 bedrooms

1 and 1 half baths

Contact Brack Marquette

421-2611 or e-mail: jcbm@hotmail.com

If you have a unique or interesting house for sale contact Lissa Sims at lsims@aceweekly.com.