Immediately upon purchasing the home, the couple recognizes a sense of responsibility. “Steve likes to say we are the stewards of this house. We feel like we are maintaining it and lovingly caring for it,” said Nancy, happy to be at home. Steve, a Charlotte, N.C. native, came to Cobb County after graduating from Emory University School of Law and is a partner at the Marietta law firm Moore, Ingram, Johnson & Steele.
The couple moved from Arden Trace subdivision in Kennesaw where they lived for 22 years. “It was perfect for raising our boys. Even though we knew it wasn’t our dream house, we didn’t want to move them out of their school district and away from their friends,” Nancy Steele stated.
Having met 27 years ago at a friend’s wedding at the Marietta Educational Garden Center (the Benson House at 505 Kennesaw Avenue), it is opportune that the couple returned to live on the same street.
“It’s rather serendipitous how we came to own our house,” Nancy said.
Four years ago, wanting to purchase another home that was for sale on the same street, the Steeles put their Kennesaw house on the market. “We fell in love with that house,” Nancy said.
But another buyer purchased the home the Steele’s were interested in.
They continued their search in earnest. Several of the homes they looked at required extensive work. In the process, the couple happened upon their friend, Jane Manning, listening to music in her backyard.
Manning said she was interested in downsizing. They were immediately attracted to the idea of buying the four-bedroom home.
Nancy, a master gardener, was particularly drawn to the secret garden and pool in the backyard. “Having gone through the Master Gardener program, the garden was heaven. It’s a gardener’s dream,” said Nancy, pointing out that something is always in bloom year round.
The home was a dream come true to the Steeles. “The house was move-in perfect,” Nancy said.
Like many historic homes, the Steele residence built in 1890 by James C. Talley boasts a colorful array of former occupants. Although many familiar names such as Brumby and Northcutt are associated with the home, perhaps as Douglas M. Frey portrays in his book “Marietta : Gem City of Georgia,” the most colorful is that of Samuel Porter Jones.
Jones, a lawyer, purchased the home in 1905 for his daughter, Mary Myrtle, (founder of the first garden club in Marietta). He drank heavily but on his father’s deathbed, Jones vowed to make his father proud. He became a famous 19th-century Christian evangelist.
Mary Myrtle Jones’ second husband was William Reid Turner. “That’s how the home got its name the Talley/Turner house,” Nancy said.
Mary Myrtle had two daughters, Laura and Eva, from her previous marriage. Laura never married but established an international reputation as a clothing designer.
“She designed clothes for silent screen movie stars Gloria Swanson and Viola Dana. Laura was also one of the first women to design a Broadway stage set,” said Nancy, noting that Laura died at 52 after a battle with opium addiction.
As with many homes with history, characters will come and go. “It’s an honor to live here because it’s an incredible place,” Nancy said.