Fancy that! Prom photos at Rest Haven Home

Historic 1906 building is an elegant backdrop for prom-goers as they immerse themselves in hometown history

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  • Photos by Christine Urio From left: Kendall Fioranti, Alexis Newman, Erin Cytryn, Jaclyn Imhof, Katarna Woods and Christine Scully

  • Katarina Woods strikes a pose.

  • Rest Haven Home was the place many went to take their prom pictures this prom season.

  • So many took advantage of the Rest Haven backdrop for their prom pictures.

  • From left: Jaclyn Imhof, Katarina Woods, Erin McLoughlin, Alexis Newman, Erin Cytryn and Alysan Sullivan in their prom finery.

By Christine Urio

— Beautiful gowns and dapper suits graced the mahogany floors and grand staircase at the Rest Haven Home recently as Monroe-Woodbury High School juniors and seniors posed for prom pictures.

Usually, prom goers gather en mass at a park or on front lawns for this time-honored rite of passage. Parents and friends try to get that one perfect photo capturing the glitz and glamour of the evening. With that in mind, M-W's prom goers took advantage of an offer by Rest Haven to use its elegant 1906 building as their photographic backdrop.

“Students chose Rest Haven because of its historical value that has been kept in a time capsule unknown to so many,” said Timothy Mitts, the spokesman for HRR Corp., who offered use of the house to the Class of 2018 and Class of 2017.

Monroe-Woodbury junior Jaclyn Imhof called the opportunity "wonderful."

“It was a special night because my Girl Scout leader coordinated the event for all of us to meet there before going to our junior prom,” she said. “Most of us have been in the troop since kindergarten, so to share the night together and coming to such a beautiful home made it so special and memorable. Not to mention that we were allowed to share it with family and friends.”

Before the senior prom on May 25, a rainy night, roads immediately surrounding Rest Haven were clogged with traffic. Parked cars lined the streets, Monroe Police officers direct the city-like traffic crawling along the narrow roads. And it was similar scene for the junior prom as well.

History in their hometownThe home has a special history as the house of M.C. Migel, Helen Keller, and the American Foundation for the Blind.

“I’m actually a history major, and I figured, what better place to take my prom pictures than in a historic home?” said Monroe-Woodbury junior Katarina Woods. “Otherwise, we would have ended up on someone’s front lawn. The pictures will always be a big part of the special night.”

The students were allowed to take pictures anywhere on the first floor, in front of any one of nine fireplaces decorated with flowers, or on two acres of surrounding property.

“The pictures at Rest Haven were a beautiful opportunity," said Tanya Woods, Katarina's mother and volunteer chair of the Monroe Girl Scout Community. Like so many other parents, she came armed with her camera.

"It was actually my idea to reach out and ask if they would consider it," she said. "I’m so grateful Tim liked the idea. I just knew the kids would love the history and beauty in their own town.”

Mitts said he hoped the night’s special memories will stay with them and strengthen their bond with their hometown, whether they remain in Monroe or journey further.

“Students can tell stories of how they attended Rest Haven, a historical site in their hometown, as they move on in life,” Mitts said.

'A novelty'The McKendrick family designed the home to offer large-scale entertainment, such as lawn parties and play skits.

“There is no such mention of the property being open to the public to allow the communities near and far to take such pictures for proms, graduations, weddings, or any other event in the last 114 years,” Mitts said. “This is clearly a novelty.”

Going forward, the house will be open for photographs for graduations, weddings, and family pictures.

“It is always significant to incorporate Rest Haven for special community occasions because it creates a wonderful and unforgettable memory for our kids,” said Mitts. “With the days of graduating from college, marrying the one you love, or more importantly, taking the family picture to be a memory of life, Rest Haven has shown it is worth the memory.”

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