The Life of Miss Spring

Sketch of Miss Spring

( see attached sheet for main sources used in this sketch)

Miss A. M. Spring (Anna Melanzine Spring) or Miss Anna M. Spring, as she signed her name on deeds, was one of the most colorful people who ever lived on the Rustic Ridge. Story books could be written about her!

To begin with, she very wealthy — obviously a millionaire — having inherited a fortune from her mother who in turn was related to the Mellons of Pittsburg[1].

A list of the incredible numbers of places from Maine to Oregon and California, which Miss Spring owned, is attached.

In the early part of the century, this interesting woman was a guest at the Northfield Hotel, having come probably for the same reason which brought thousands of others each summer, namely to attend the religious conferences for which Northfield was famous all over the world. She evidently fell in love with the place, for soon she purchased a good sized tract of land on the Rustic Ridge which was in its infancy. In 1906 she had seven cottages constructed using six and a half lots for her own the one she lived in. The other cottages were never rented, but always given rent free.

Miss Spring thus was a vital part of the Ridge for some twenty years, and we find her name as one of the six members of the Rustic Ridge Executive Committee for eight years (1912-1920)  and [2]**.       Miss Spring was a woman of strong convictions and great will power. A friend tells of sitting beside her in the Auditorium during World War I. Miss Spring was knitting a pair of socks for the Red Cross. Her waist was obviously causing her considerable pain, and the friend remonstrated with her for continuing under such painful circumstances, knowing that Miss Spring could so easily afford countless pairs of hose. The reply was “pain or no pain , why should I stop knitting when the boys are giving their lives on the battle field?”

Some of this same determination evidently extended into the realm of her economies, stories of which abound. In the early 1920’s , for example, she said to one of her Ridge friends, “I hope you will never wear silk stockings. (One would like to know how much more silk ones cost than the black and white cotton hose which had long been in vogue.) The small cottage room about 7 by 16 feet in which she slept ( now the “Looses” guest house) was modest by any standards. It had a small stove and sunken bath tub under the floor. One cannot help wondering if her economical habits (even when eating in restaurants) had anything to do with her wealth staying at its high level.)

Above all, however, Miss Spring seems to be remembered for her generosity. Stories of her gifts to friends are unending. It might be a $100 gift to one for a trip to Mexico: a $2,000 check to another to make possible the purchase of a home: invitations to friends to visit her at her expense & on and on. She gave away all her seven cottages on Rustic Ridge, her own and Rose cottage (her Guest Cottage) to Herbert Stone, Assistant Manager of The Northfield Hotel; two more cottages to Miss Barnes (later Mrs. Labella), a missionary; one to Miss Bolerman who had worked for her for many years; and two cottages to Mr. and Mrs. Hulett who had also worked for her[3].##

On the Northfield Main Street she purchased land upon which she built two fine houses for Missionaries on furlough.

One would like to know whether or not she gave away all her her other properties in her last years, but it seems likely that that was the case for one closely connected in his younger years with Miss spring’s  friends seems to recall that she gave away all her California properties to religious leaders, mainly to Amy Semple McPherson.

Perhaps Miss Spring was generous to a fault, for it is believed that when she died in 1938 she was a comparatively relatively poor woman.[4]* Though if true, surely she would not have given away all her property as our meager information suggests, had she not had a profound feeling of responsibility for the gifts she had inherited, — a deep sense of stewardship” to use the modern Christian expression.

Thus her memory lives on vividly with all who knew her and with those who have ever heard of her.

By Esther Moody Loos – 1971


Source: John Keating-Herbert Stone

5 places in California

Palm Springs– she owned the whole town except the part the Indians had

Point Loma—she owned the whole point—500 acres now

Indio—her desert retreat

San Diego – her home there had heat on the roof!

Cheyenne, Wyoming—-ranch—for cattle

Hood River, Oregon —- Apple, pears and cherry Orchard. She supplied a naval base, and at San Diego. Herbert Stone tells of her shipping apples to the soldiers in Europe in world War I, to which he could testify first hand.

Jo-Mary Lakes, Maine —- Nearest town was Marcrosse, and it took one day to get to camp by canoe and one  had to shoot the rapids to get there. She had a guide there.

Northfield —- Seven Cottages

Brooklyn House, her Mother’s Home, which she gave to a  relative

Deer Creek, Pennsylvania—Family Homestead, which she and her sister owned jointly. (This is near Pittsburgh.)

Apartment House in Greenwich Village

and doubtless more!


Sketch of Miss Spring

Bessie Brainard Schmadeke (Mrs. John)

She has been a member of the Ridge Colony every summer since 1903, and knew Miss Spring fairly well.

Virginia MacLeod

She was spending her summers on the Ridge during the years (some of them anyway!) when Miss Spring was in residence, and attended picnics etc given by Miss Spring. Virginia’s mother and Miss Spring picked blueberries, and sorted them together.

John Keating

Nephew of Miss Bollerman, who lived with Miss Spring for many years (see more on Miss Bollerman below). He first came to the Ridge in 1921, when he was ten years old, livingthen with his mother, Mrs. Ohlandt, and her sister, Miss Bollerman. He has been coming to the Ridge every year since then—save one. His vast knowledge of Miss Spring was gleaned from his aunt, Miss Bollerman, and Deer Creek, the book about Spring Homestead by Guliema Pell Alsop, Miss Spring’s niece.

John’s grandfather was German and a cabinetmaker, he made furniture for Miss Spring’s mother, even a piano case.

Miss Lillie Bollerman (Lillie, not Billie)

First lived in the Alsop family as governess because she spoke excellent German, and Miss Spring was engaged to a German Baron (an engagement which was broken). The Alsops wanted to take her to Europe, but her father would not let her go. Miss Spring then sent her to a nursing school from which she graduated. Next she organized the Nursing Service for the Traveler’s Aid in N.Y.C.; was Supervisor of Nurses at N.Y. Medical College for Females; was at Henry St. Settlement; and then with the Dept of Health.

In 1911 she went to live with Mrs. Keating (later Mrs. Ohlandt), the year John was born, and John says “she was like a mother to me”.

Every summer after 1911 she was with Miss Spring, taking care of Miss Lizzie, Miss Spring’s invalid sister, traveling with them etc until Miss Lizzie’s death, and even after that, as a card from one of Miss Spring’s placed in California in 1921 proves.

Herbert S. Stone

Assistant Manager of the Northfield Inn 1897-1920 (except for 1902-1905).  He became a friend of Miss Spring’s  from her earliest days in Nfld. A letter from him says “ I remember driving Miss Spring and her cousin up to the Ridge, and around it with your father’s  old gray mare and buggy, soon after the Ridge was opened.” In 1928 Miss spring gave Herbert Stone her own cottage and her guest cottage (Rose Cottage, now owned by John Keating)     Throughout all the years he ( H.S.) and his wife maintained a close friendship with Miss Spring, visiting her frequently, the last time being in Colorado in 1937, the year before she died.

[1] Her mother was Mary O’Hara Denny Spring. The Dennys  were prominent in banking and real estate in Pittsburgh.

[2] A note of thanks was extended to her for the widening of North Lane (see Exec Board notes July 24, 1913).

[3] John Keating insists that Mrs. Labella rec’d 3 cottages & that Huletts only one- My evidence points to the above – see Deed attached to ??? Record Form.

[4] Source: John Keating





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