When Robin Raquet called to ask me to be a docent at the 1999 KW Home Tour, I said, “Sure.” King William had been my adopted neighborhood for twenty years, and I had worked on the Home Tour since the 1980s.
At an early orientation, I noticed an elegant, buff little man had his eyes on me. After we finished our shift on Tour day, he slipped out the back door and into the bushes, from which he popped when I walked out the door and said, “Would you like to see the rest of the houses with me?” Why not, I thought. We went from house to house, talked and talked, and learned we were both invited to a party on Guenther that evening, so why not go together?
He was Jack Pancoast, who was originally from San Antonio, but had lived in New York for about 40 years, working on Wall Street. Now he was back here restoring a derelict house on Washington St. At the party I introduced him to his KW neighbors. From that day on, we were inseparable, although I told him I wouldn’t marry him until he finished the house.
When we finally did get married, we had a beautiful wedding party in the Upper Mill Park. The Home Tour became our “thing” and we worked on it every year – and drank a toast to Robin Raquet often. We lived in bliss until he developed leukemia and died in his lovingly restored house in 2006. I took charge of the Home Tour so I could show how he saved the house, and named it “The Jack Pancoast House” on the theory that if it’s in writing it makes it true. I call it The House That Jack Built.
This is the short version. The long story includes a walking tour!!
- Anne Alexander