The most beautiful house in Owanana was and always is Fiddlehead. Anyway, that is what the builder, lumber baron Zeke Amos and his wife, Zelda would tell you. To look at it one might wonder what part of it they were talking about! Beauty? Yes. Stately? Of course. It has no one style, but many you can identify.

The Amoses loved Art! To them, the style was whatever you enjoyed at the time. When they first started building, it was Victorian. But then Zelda noticed the beautiful Italianate being built in St Paul. Rather than tear down one building style in favor of another, she would have the contractors just add on. This drove the architects wild. They accused her of destroying the very fabric of their existence, but she knew better. The ones who would agree to work with her were paid very well and were encouraged to extend their creative spirit till there were no boundaries.

When Zeke and Zelda passed in 1926 they willed their beautiful home to a nephew who never moved in and let the house stay empty for a few decades. Anyway, that is what we all think. No one really knows if it was vacant and there was doubt because there was really no evidence of decay that you would expect when neglected for that amount of time. There is also talk that there were hobos and transients who were so taken by it’s beauty that they had a common-law rule that if you stayed, you did an odd job that needed to be done. All complied.

What we do know is that in the sixties some hippies moved in and started a commune. They were gardeners, artists, musicians and creators of all sorts. The Amoss’ would have loved that. They would set up a stand on the highway in the summer and fall and it became a roadside attraction. You could buy vegetables, pottery, photography, paintings, tie-die fabrics, and jewelry. Soon, they invited artist friends to come join them on weekends and it became a regular Art Fair. There were also productions put on and at night there was music and dancing. The gas station added a cafe, a few other stores, and Owanana became a legendary artist’s colony.

Alas. All good things come to an end. People quit buying Art. Some say it is because liberal arts was cut out of the curriculum in school. Some say it is just a shortage of resources. What really happened we will never know. Slowly the commune disbursed. Some took jobs in the cities, some joined other communes. Some just took the conventional route and got married, started a family. Eventually, our beautiful but curious house once again became vacant until Sidney saw it for sale online. Now a new chapter in the life of Fiddlehead, she and her dog Frankie will be living there alone.