My father, Dr. Tom, designed and built the building in front of you with the help and support of my Uncle John in 1912. The building was a doctor’s office and my father had an actual human skeleton just behind the front door. I remember accompanying my father on a routine house call late one evening. I watched my father pull a tooth, give a haircut and deliver a baby all in one call. Hours later, we headed home with a live chicken as payment.
According to family lore, the building was inspired by the plantations of the South, and was modeled after land and buildings owned by my father and his brother in Tallulah, Louisiana. Hence the plantation-style architecture. When I was a boy, I remember sitting under these columns to watch community concerts on Saturday nights. And sometimes in the summer months, I would set up a stand in front of these columns and sell lemonade to the business people who happened by.
This building didn’t always sit here at Memorial Park. It was erected on the corner of 1st Street and 2nd Avenue, where the Mount Vernon Bank & Trust now sits. Other buildings built my father and my uncle include the two buildings that now house the Palisades Café and Silver Spider, the Skillet Café building, and the Lisbon Opera House.
My father practiced medicine here until 1930. My half-brother, RB, worked in this office from 1930 to 1990, some of that time with his son Doug. Doug still works on that same corner, in the second-floor offices of the Mount Vernon Bank & Trust, carrying on a tradition of more than 100 years of Wolfe family members practicing medicine or law on the corner of First Street and Second Avenue.In 1990, the Wolfe family gifted this building to the City of Mount Vernon to use as a Community and Welcome Center, and it was picked up and moved to its present location. As a member of the Wolfe family and a lifelong resident, I am proud to welcome you to the Mount Vernon Visitor Center. We’re glad you’re here.