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Walton family member comes home, visits Eastern

Eileen Korman, known by the Eastern community for greeting people who enter the Dining Commons and swiping their E-cards with a smile, was recently given an opportunity to speak with a piece of Eastern history.

A few weeks ago during a Sunday lunch, Korman had the privilege of meeting with one of the Walton family members, Katherine Wiedershiem Petrie, daughter of Martha Walton. Martha Walton married William Wiedersheim and lived in what is now Walton Hall.

Petrie grew up in Walton Hall with her mother and father, and, according to Korman, she was amazed to see how much had been preserved from her childhood.

“She was very friendly and told me a lot about the different rooms,” Korman said.

The chapel was used as a game room; on the left wall two men can be seen playing chess under the banner.

“[Petrie] knew the meaning of all the decorations and explained a lot of the intricate designs,” Korman said.

The dessert room in the cafeteria was used as the breakfast room. The room outside the cafeteria, where the E-cards are swiped, was where the family would have their tea parties.

Daryl Hawkins’s office was Petrie’s bedroom while she was growing up.

“She seemed very pleased to see that her room is now the office of the vice president of student development,” Korman said.

The VIP room used to be the library her father would retire to every night. The Dining Commons used to be an outside garden. When the Waltons would have people over for tea, many would use the garden as the entrance. The Baird Library was named after a close friend of the Walton family and the father of one of Petrie’s childhood friends.

Baird later wrote a book about the Walton family called Great House. This book can be checked out as a reference book from the Warner Library. Korman recommended the book to students interested in learning more about the campus.

After building the house, Mr. Walton enjoyed it for only three years before passing away. His funeral was held in the Walton lounge, outside the cafeteria.

“I am very interested in the history of the campus, and was very happy to have met Mrs. Petrie,” Korman said.

“It would be nice to have her come back in the future and maybe talk to students and faculty who are interested in learning more about the history of the campus.”

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