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Bloom House: 110 Main Street

Bloom House

Once the home of A. W. Bloom, who ran an ice cream and diary store in town, this was better known as the home of sisters Estelle and Marian Bloom, who consorted with the well-known authors H. L. Mencken and Theodore Dreiser, frequent visitors to New Windsor.

On the outskirts of New Windsor, on Springdale Road, the Smith family farm has had a problem with candlesticks that refuse to stay put. During the holidays, the family liked to place electric candles in the windows of the attic, but the one in the window in front of an old trunk continued to move from its placement, even after being tied in place. The trunk itself belonged to Estelle Bloom, known to many as "Gloom", because of her love of Russian novels and her somewhat somber personality. She had left it, along with all her other household belongings to her niece, Mary Smith, when she died at her home in New Windsor in 1954. In her younger days, Estelle had been a frequent visitor to the farm, then owned by her older sister Goldie and Goldie's husband, Harry Smith. Considering Estelle's life, it is perhaps not surprising that her trunk would have an interesting effect on items placed near it.

Estelle, born in 1886, was one of the six children born to Adam and Mary (Hook) Bloom and was about 4 years old when the family moved to New Windsor where Adam ran a dairy. In 1898, Adam committed suicide, leaving his crippled wife to struggle bringing up the six children. All of the older children worked, turning over their pay to their mother, who managed to keep the the household running.

In a brief, autobiographical piece written years later, Estelle described her father as a very lovable man with "an open heart to any hobo who came along." His undoing, she believed, came as a result of the preaching of a traveling evangelist, as Adam apparently became increasingly depressed. "But they persuaded him that he was a sinner, that he had been a sinner all his days. And he, poor easy-going soul, believed them. He grew more and more morose, and one morning around 11 o'clock he went up to a room over the dairy, where he had had fun carving and turning bits of wood on a lathe in his odd moments, and tried to kill himself with a shotgun. He made a bad job of it, a few shots went into his belly, but he didn't die until 8 o'clock that night."

Though the family continued to live in their house at the base of Main Street after Adam's death, the girls in particular never quite fit in with the rest of their peers. They were all independent, outspoken and considered very good-looking and were fond of noisy parties. At age 18 or so, Estelle left home to make her own way, soon followed by her younger sister, Marion

The somewhat exotic personalities of the two sisters led them eventually to become part of the globe-trotting circle of acquaintances surrounding two very prominent writers of the day, H. L. Mencken and Theodore Dreiser. For a number of years, Estelle was both assistant and lover to Dreiser while Marion had an ongoing, though often stormy and difficult, relationship with Mencken for many years. The two writers were frequent visitors to the New Windsor area with the girls, no doubt adding to the view the townspeople had of the girls as being rather unusual.

Though she enjoyed the her fair share of attention from the male gender, Estelle was not particularly lucky when it came to marriage, as her first, to Hans Kubitz, ended rather abruptly when he disappeared into Mexico without her. Her second marriage, occurring after her relationship with Theodore Dreiser had ended, was to Art Williams and ended when she discovered that he was unfaithful

Her close relationship to her sister Marion took a turn for the worse sometime around 1930 as the sisters had a major falling out, though no one seems to know why.

Though both Estelle and Marion seemed to regard life in the New Windsor as being far too quiet for their restless spirits, it was to her childhood home that Estelle eventually returned for good. She still made occasional trips to New York, where she had lived for many years, but her last days were spent in the old family home, pictured below, and it was here that she died in 1954, alone.

In her later years, Estelle had cut off contact with nearly all of her friends and it is said that her only interests were alcohol, the newspapers and the radio. She was found in her house, already dead, by her brother Preston after he had gotten no response to his calls.

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