Montgomery House receives silver donation from Virginia

Montgomery House receives silver donation from Virginia


MADISON – The historic Montgomery House received a generous donation of silver and antiques last week. 

Paul Eichler, 82, who lives in Richmond, Va., originally owned a silver tea service along with antiques that his late wife Sharon collected throughout their marriage. The collection was a 25th anniversary gift, and he wanted to make sure it went to a good home, and that home was the Montgomery House. 

Eichler originally had the silver tea service for sale, but was getting frustrated by callers whose only interest was to melt the silver down for profit. That changed when Mayor Mary Hawkins-Butler found his listing, and he decided to donate the silver to Madison instead of selling it after speaking with her.

“I wanted someone to use this silver for its beauty,” Eichler said. “When Mary called, I said I would love to donate it so it can be seen. We knew this would be used, not melted down.” 

Eichler noted that he and his wife continued to add to the collection over the years and would bring out the silver bowls and plates to use once a month. 

He said he wants to come to Madison when the Montgomery House and the surrounding Madison Station Botanic Garden are ready for visitors. 

“I would love to come see where the silver tea service is located now,” Eichler said.

Hawkins-Butler is always on the lookout for beautiful pieces as an avid antiques collector. She discovered Eichler’s listing and shared her appreciation for silver and antiques with him.

After talking over the phone, Eichler decided he wanted to donate his collection to Madison after hearing about the city’s efforts to restore the historic Montgomery House.  

The mayor said she was speechless to receive such an incredible gift from someone who had never been to Madison, but wanted to share his family heirlooms with the community. 

“What a generous heart,” Hawkins-Butler said. “We are so grateful to him. We expect him to be here for the ribbon cutting for the Montgomery House. It will be wonderful to see Mr. Eichler enjoy his collection in its new home, and he’ll know the people of Madison will appreciate the beauty of it all.”

Seven boxes filled with trays, cups, plates, a teapot, serving pieces and more arrived in Madison last week. 

Eichler said he and his late wife Sharon, who died on July 30 the day after their 61st anniversary, collected a variety of lovely antiques and silver throughout their marriage. To honor his late wife, Eichler said he wanted to make sure their silver would continue to be appreciated. 

Eichler said his three daughters – two of whom live near him and one in Bermuda – agreed that Madison was the best place for the family collection. 

“All the girls were here when we decided, and they think it’s great that it is going to Mississippi,” he said. “The mayor is doing me a favor.”

Eichler is currently downsizing the collections in his 101-year-old home in Virginia where he lives with his 10-pound Shih Tzu, Timmy.

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