from the archives: Grace Lefever, 2011

A Brief Summary of the School of Living (SOL) at Heathcote Next to Bill and Margaret Anacker’s Property

Grace Lefever working on the mill
Grace Lefever working on the Heathcote Mill.

by Grace T. Lefever in 2011

The Anacker and Lefever families probably met in 1956 when the Lefevers sent slides of their solar home and homestead to the School of Living (SOL) meeting which the Anackers attended.  The Anackers realized the Lefever homestead was only about 25 miles north of their homestead at Maryland Line, so they came to visit.  Through that visit, and more future activities, they became very close friends.

Mildred Loomis became  the Educational Director with Dr. Borsodi and organized all kinds of SOL conferences and homesteading seminars.  She finally wanted to start an eastern center and that’s when Bill Anacker was approached about using some of their property for this.  Bill was willing to sell the part of his land that included the old mill.

The call went out to SOL members to have them come to work for a whole week to get the mill ready for occupancy.  Grace Lefever would organize all the food and meals for these work weeks.  The Dee Hamilton family became the first caretakers and program directors at what became known as Heathcote Community.  Many young people heard of this and began coming to be part of this learning experience.  Mildred edited the magazine called Balanced Living, and later changed to the Green Revolution which was America’s original Back-to-the-Land magazine. There were many productive years with new Presidents of the SOL Board, and then lean years when people moved in and out of the community. Mildred eventually left Ohio and Heathcote became the SOL Headquarters.

After many years of dramatic changes, Bill and Margaret left the original farm house and built their unusual round house up on the hill beyond the original buildings.  Bill had a wonderful tree company and wherever he went and visited, he would work on people’s trees and put up swings; He even had swings in the middle of his living room.