Hope Glen in Cottage Grove to rent out for weddings, events
It should have occurred to Michael and Paula Bushilla that good things would happen to them because the historic farm they own is called "Hope Glen."
The nearly eight-acre farm surrounded by Washington County's Cottage Grove Ravine Regional Park on Point Douglas Road was built in 1881 and received a city historic designation in 2001 while it was owned by Charlotte Healy, widow of John Healy, heating and air conditioning mogul with his business in St. Paul.
Healy bought the farm from William Macintosh in 1916 and commissioned Samuel Bartlett to enlarge the small farm house into a Tudor Revival-style home. Bartlett, an architect for the Great Northern Railroad, designed the two lodges in Glacier National Park.
In 2002, the Bushillas, who were living in northeast Minneapolis, came to the area to visit Charlotte Healy, a friend of Paula's grandmother.
Though they were not looking to move, they asked Healy if she had ever thought of selling Hope Glen. To their surprise, after living there 70 years, Healy agreed to sell. "It wasn't even on the market," Paula told members of the Cottage Grove Advisory Commission on Historic Preservation who held a meeting in the Hope Glen barn last week. The commission unanimously supported amending the conditional-use permit to allow the couple to use their barn as a wedding venue.
The Bushillas bought the farm in 2002. It had been remodeled by Healy numerous times, but there was still a lot of work to do, the couple said.
Michael located his printing business in part of the barn. Printing school textbooks was bringing in a good income that allowed the couple to renovate the six-building farm.
But the economic downturn and customers moving textbook contracts to China hit them hard.
As a couple, they became over-the-road truck drivers for a time until Paula got a career-ending blood clot in her leg.
A year ago, with much sadness, they decided to sell Hope Glen. But in a depressed real estate market, it didn't sell, which turned out to be good thing, Paula said.
Someone told them many couples are looking for barns to be married in. The Bushillas consulted a wedding planner who raved about the possibilities inherent in the property, including that the barn is heated and air-conditioned.
There is a field for parking and a "glen" for outdoor wedding ceremonies.
The couple has worked with city planners and inspectors to make changes that will allow them to petition the city to amend their conditional-use permit to hold two public events a year to expand it for weddings. The City Council is expected to take action on the permit next month.
The permit allows 299 people to be outside and 175 guests to have a catered dinner inside the barn. The couple plans to enclose a covered patio area to add additional space.
The facility has no permit to sell liquor. Couples will be allowed to bring liquor onto the premises.
About Hope Glen
- One of Charlotte Healy's favorite stories happened in 1929 when a dapper, well-dressed young man stopped at Hope Glen, named by John Healy after his mother's maiden name, asking if he could have breakfast, for which he was willing to pay. Charlotte invited him in and fed him. As he left, he gave her a $10 bill--a lot of money in those days. The next day, she found out the "nice young man" was Machine Gun Kelly, who was passing through the area after robbing a bank.
- The barn was built by William Macintosh in the 1880s.
- William Macintosh's son was John Quincy Macintosh who was, at one time, superintendent of Washington County schools who inherited the farm and sold it to Healy.
- The road in front of Hope Glen is the old Highway 3. The current Highway 61 with four lanes was built in 1958 and led to the building of the urban area of Cottage Grove by developer Orrin Thompson.