Katie initially intended to share the house with her adopted grandmother, Rosa Mae Jennings (nee Hancock) who took care of her when she and her siblings were children.  Born on Leap Day 1916 on 5th Street, Rosa graduated from Dunbar High School in 1934 when Anne Spencer was serving as the school’s librarian.  A congregant at Jackson Street United Methodist Church, by the early 2000s Rosa was in her late eighties.  Though Rosa initially entertained the idea of moving in, she ultimately declined Katie’s offer.  As Katie recounted, Rosa said that she could not live on Rivermont because “When I was growing up I wasn’t allowed on Rivermont unless I was in uniform going to work.” 

When Katie bought the house, it had three pages of inspection orders. She and her husband have done a great deal of work to the home including removing heaps of trash from the backyard, installing a hew heat pump, and removing the aluminum siding. They lived in the main floor apartment until 2010 when they removed the wall that separated the two apartments making the home back into a single family home.  In the process they rebuilt the staircase, the railing being salvaged from a house on Cabell Street. The house still has some of the no longer used radiators that were original to the home that now serve as decorative elements, as are the coal burning fireplaces.  When they first bought the house, they had a ghost that would hide her shoes and line her husband’s shoes up. They have also heard footsteps upstairs when no one else was in the house.

Interviewed 7/6/2015


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Gerard Sherayko

Department of History

Randolph College
2500 Rivermont Avenue
Lynchburg, VA 24503