The Historic Dillon House opened its remodeled doors in 2015, and within a year, more than 10,000 people had visited the meeting and event space.
Built in 1911, the Dillon House today offers an elegant, modern space that also glories in the the building’s history. Ross Freeman, president of Pioneer Group, which owns the house, has spent much of his career working in historic preservation, and he has an appreciation for the stories and history that tell the tales of buildings.
That’s one reason he was excited to capture a new glimpse of the Dillon family that built the house.
“We’ve been able to find a number of photographs of Hiriam Dillon, but we’ve never found anything about Susie,” Freeman said of the original family. “Then we tracked down portraits in a warehouse in Phoenix, and purchased them.”
The team at Dillon House set out to find Susie Dillon’s portrait in a bit of a sleuthing exercise.
“We talked to a large number of the right people and just kept narrowing it down until we finally found them,” Freeman said. “It so happened there was kind of a treasure trove of portraits of the Dillon family ancestors and nursemaids and all kinds of people associated with the Dillons.”
Freeman said the artist who painted the 3-foot by 20-inch oval paintings appears to be Elizabeth Fager, but they hit a dead end at tracking her down. He called Beth Fager, a well-known community leader, but she didn’t know the name.
“The southern portion of the west wing was the music room, and with Susie being a very accomplished musician, we hung her portrait over the fireplace mantle in that room,” Freeman said. “Hiriam looked like he always enjoyed a good dinner, and the northern portion of the west wing was the dining room, so we hung his portrait over the mantle in the dining room.”