Tuesday, March 8, 2011
As Westminster College celebrated the 65th anniversary of Winston Churchill’s visit last weekend, another anniversary is also being celebrated this week, although somewhat quieter.
Through the years, the house that sits at 310 West Seventh Street has housed visitors from all around the world. Now known as Loganberry Inn Bed & Breakfast, the home was originally built in 1899 for Westminster Professor Edgar Marquess. The owners of Loganberry, Carl and Cathy McGeorge, will mark their 15-year anniversary of the inn on March 8. The couple purchased the inn on March 1, 1996, and officially opened on March 8 for their first guest — former British Prime Minister Maragret Thatcher. Thatcher traveled to Fulton in ’96 in honor of Winston Churchill and the 50th anniversary of his “Iron Curtain” speech he gave on March 5, 1946.
Cathy said before Thatcher’s arrival, Scotland Yard came to the inn to give it a once over.
“I always tell guests we’ve been checked out by Scotland Yard, so it’s safe to be here,” Cathy says with a chuckle.
Jack Marshall, who worked at Westminster for 40 years and is the former vice president for development, said he picked up Thatcher and her husband, Denis Thatcher, from the Columbia airport when she came to give her speech for the anniversary.
“She had this reputation of being this really tough iron lady,” Marshall said, “but I found her to be very pleasant, easy to deal with, quite a charming person.”
Cathy’s memories of the former prime minister are similar.
“I remember her real well. I was surprised at how down to earth she was,” she said.
Thatcher even made herself enough at home at the inn to stoke the fire and put logs on it, despite Cathy’s insistence to do it for her.
“She definitely felt at home here,” Cathy said.
Since the McGeorges have owned Loganberry, they’ve taken in visitors from multiple countries, many of them invited by Westminster.
“We literally get guests from all over the world,” Cathy said.
The McGeorges named their guest rooms to reflect some of their patronage. There’s a “Margaret Thatcher” room, where Thatcher stayed, a “Presidents” room, where former Polish President Lech Walesa stayed, a “William Woods” room and a “Westminster” room.
Many antiques and period-style furniture are scattered throughout the inn, which Cathy calls her “English country” motif. Loganberry’s unofficial mascot is the McGeorge’s 5-year-old shitzu, Logan, who scurries around the inn as if he owns it.
“He thinks the inn’s named after him,” Cathy said, explaining it’s actually the other way around.
The inn-keeper says Logan took favor with one of Loganberry’s honored guests — Lady Mary Soames, the daughter of Winston Churchill. Soames stayed at the inn during the 60th anniversary of Churchill’s speech and rededicated the National Churchill Museum when it reopened after multi-million dollar renovations.
Other relatives of Churchill have also stayed at the inn. His granddaughters Edwina and Celia Sandys have both been guests, Edwina for the first time in 1999 and Celia in 2002.
Marshall said Westminster chose Loganberry to put its visitors up “primarily because it was so close to the campus and has very comfortable accommodations.”
He said the old home has a shared history with the college. Cathy said the Professor Marquess used to take in guests for Westminster back when he had the house, because it had so many rooms.
“It’s very convenient, particularly if people are coming to the Churchill Memorial. They can walk down there and walk back to their residence whenever they want to,” Marshall said. “And Cathy is a good cook, so they get good breakfast there.”
Menu items like fall vegetable quiche, apple-cinnamon french toast and maple-pepper bacon are served for breakfast, and Cathy said she cooks gourmet for everyone.
“All of our guests are special,” she said.