Spy Reconnaissance: The Dixon House with Linda Elben

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The one thing the Mid-Shore had a surplus of in the early 1900s was a disproportion number of widows. While men dying before their spouses was, and still is, a well-known fact, there were significant challenges in those days for those who had survived the death of husbands, who had made the family living as farmers or teachers, and the loss of income and assets that came with those tragedies.

Of course, these were Eastern Shore women, possessing a high degree of intelligence and common sense.  And some of these ladies, drawing from the Mid-Shore counties of Talbot, Kent and Queen Anne’s, organized an extraordinary solution – collective living in downtown Easton.

With a land donation from Talbot’s generous Dixon family, a core group of women gave up most of their worldly possessions to fund the construction of a twenty room living center on North Street. And from this new home, which opened in 1903, residents would cook together, eat together, wash clothes together, for the remainder of their years.

As Linda Elben, Dixon’s executive director,  highlights in her interview with the Spy, the nonprofit assisted living facility has changed considerably since those early years.

With a staff of twenty-seven full and part time help, and eighteen full-time residents, aging from 83 (the baby) to 105 years old, it holds its own in quality with much more expensive options in the area. Nonetheless, Dixon House remains in many ways the same, intimate community (now co-ed) when Mid-Shore women first started placing rockers out on its famous front porch and watch the world walk by.

This video is approximately six minutes in length

The Dixon House

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