In exchange for a low paying job, the NPS often, though not always, offered on site quaters for a small fee. I am grateful for having had the opportunity to live in each of the above as a park ranger. They have all been closed and are in serious disrepair as the Park Service focuses resources on the park's mission rather than living quarters.
The Johnson House in Summer Haven, FL faces the inland waterway at Ft Matanzas NM. Remote and gated, it was the most peaceful place I have ever lived. I entertained the retired news producer of The Today Show and his English wife on the flag stone terrace serving hor d'oeurves of Totino's frozen cheese pizza, a bucket of KFC chicken and Red, White and Blue beer. The producer's wife told me it was one of the most beautiful dinners she ever had.
Huntington's Quarters sits in the bottom of the valley across from the George Washington Memorial Chapel in Valley Forge. Long closed, it was once host to frequent parties of the rangers who lived there. At one party, a NPS historian from Philadelphia offered up for sale a bayonet from the American Revolution. A ranger from Iowa inspected the bayonet for a couple of minutes and upon handing it back pointed to the barely legible stamp of the letters "a" and "n" just above the socket. A closer inspection with a loop revealed the word, "Japan." We never heard from the historian again.
Lord Stirling's Quarters sits on Yellow Springs Road just past the covered bridge on the far west side of Valley Forge. When I lived here, I always thought it would be the kind of house I would own one day. A Pennsylvania stone farm house from the 18th Century with fire places in every room. Sadly, the interior is gutted due to a termite infestation. It breaks my heart. Scenes from the television mini series, George Washington with Barry Bostwick, were filmed in my upstairs bedroom. Proof left by deep scratches to the wide plank floor from a careless camera crew.
Money and the making of it - will never come close to the memories I have of these unique homes. It's pleasing to know I can't spend memories.