THE GOODELL SISTERS
Margaret and Carrie in 1911.
Carrie and Margaret in the 1980s.
Carrie and Margaret Goodell were the daughters of Todd and Ella Parsons Goodell. Carrie was born in 1908, and Margaret was born in 1910.
They both spent nearly their entire lives living on the Goodell Farm. The Goodell sisters both graduated from Edinboro High School and went on to graduate from Edinboro State Teachers College in 1932. Carrie earned a masters degree in Education from the University of Pittsburgh, while Margaret earned a masters degree from Northwestern University. Both sisters taught school and worked in a variety of businesses outside the home.
They emulated the appreciation of horticulture instilled in the by their parents, and continued the work of planting flowers and shrubs adjacent to the main house – currently used as the welcome center – which was begun by their parents in the 1920s. They continued to cultivate and expand their gardens, as well as their love of nature and study throughout their years, well into the 1970s.
During the early 1970s, Carrie and Margaret expressed their interest in, and worked toward finding a way to leave their property and horticultural legacy to the community for a place for the growing of trees, shrubs and flowering plants – a place where the general public could enjoy the wonders of nature.
Hard work and frugality allowed the sisters to realize that desire and they generously donated their estate to the Erie Community Foundation, which through a donor-advised letter of agreement led to the creation of Goodell Gardens & Homestead.
Through this decision by the sisters, Goodell Gardens & Homestead and the Edinboro community have been made stewards of 78 acres of green space in the Borough of Edinboro with a mandate to create a significant regional community resource. The site overlooks Edinboro Lake, is adjacent to Edinboro University and possesses access from both US Route 6N and State Route 99. The sisters also left us a vivid account of their lives on the Goodell Farm in their photos and diaries. Margaret took photos during a time spanning from the 1920s to the 1980s. Carrie kept a daily diary from 1944 until 1992.
With such historically-significant tools at our disposal combined with generous support from the community, Goodell Gardens & Homestead is slowly growing into the facility Carrie and Margaret had hoped it would.