When I recently moved to a new place, I found myself taking extra care setting up my office.
I always love an opportunity to reset my space, and a brand-new room certainly gave me that chance. I’d just been to Unity Village to see Myrtle Fillmore’s and Charles Fillmore’s offices, preserved as part of the Unity Archives, and it made me wonder about what consideration they had given to their work space. Perhaps they weren’t concerned with managing a surplus of electrical cords and USB cables or with whether their desks promoted proper ergonomics, but maybe we shared a common desire for natural light and to be surrounded by books.
If you’ve been to the Archives, you may have seen staff hard at work past a small wooden gate and a pair of carved Corinthian columns toward the back of the space. Here, there were two small offices for the Fillmores’ secretaries—now a single office for the archivist. And tucked into the corners on either side are museum-like replicas of the founders’ offices as they would have likely stood in the 1930s.
While no period photographs of the offices are known to exist, the rooms as they are today were designed based on letters from the Fillmores. Myrtle, for one, described Charles’s office furniture as “a bit more elaborate, but not prettier” than her own. Most of the furnishings are reproductions or similar items to the ones that would have been present in the Fillmores’ day.
A few original pieces do remain—most notably the microphone stand used by Charles in his regular radio addresses from the Village as well as his nameplate and the paperweights on the desk. In Myrtle’s office, the desk itself and a bronze pen and ink set are also the genuine articles she used for correspondence and other writings.
Known for many years as the Heritage Rooms, these spaces today are simply called Myrtle Fillmore’s and Charles Fillmore’s offices. The “Heritage Room” name was also used in the 1960s and 1970s for the Unity Library, which throughout the years included both lending and reference and research capacities and had also been known by a variety of names.
Both offices feature a fireplace, wrought iron chandeliers and wall sconces, natural woodwork and wood floors, large rugs, and plenty of books. Each also boasts views from floor-to-ceiling windows, although when the offices were in use by their original owners, there were balconies here that would have offered the Fillmores quite a view of the campus and beyond. Those views would have included the Fillmore Garden and fountain (where the new labyrinth is currently being built) and the famed Unity orchards, all of which were removed in the 1980s.
Standing in these rooms, you can easily imagine the Fillmores at work, reading and writing, and perhaps wondering about what the world would look like 100 years later.
To see the Fillmores’ offices, head to the Unity Archives in the 400 Building. Please call 816-524-3550 in advance to make an appointment.
This article appeared in Unity Magazine®.