This blog post was inspired by a photograph from the Ephraim Historical Foundation collections. The black and white image features a young woman in her wedding dress, with a long, white train and a floor-length veil. Her name is Marcelle Francesa Folda and she was once a summer resident of Ephraim. For more than twenty years, she spent summers with her family on Horseshoe Island.
The Folda’s history on Horseshoe Island cannot be covered in a single blog post, so today’s story will instead focus on one resident, Marcelle, and her life in Ephraim and after. Born on July 24, 1906, to Engelbert (better known as E.F.) and Alma Folda, Marcelle spent her early years in Omaha, Nebraska. In 1909, the Folda family began building an estate known as Engelmar on Horseshoe Island.
After the Horseshoe Island home was completed in 1912, the Foldas, including E.F., Alma, Marcelle, and Engelbert, Jr. (Bert), spent summers there with friends and family. Marcelle was allowed to bring a few friends from school to visit each year. She also helped her mother with the annual visit of Camp Meenahga’s residents, who were treated to an afternoon tea at Engelmar.
Despite lifelong respiratory problems due to a childhood illness, Marcelle was a skilled swimmer and tennis player. She found many friends in Ephraim, particularly amongst the summer residents with whom her family dined each year.
Back in Omaha, Marcelle became involved in the city’s growing arts scene and it was there that she met her future husband, Guy Gadbois. In one instance, Marcelle and Guy worked together in theater. The play, Beyond the Horizon, ran for seven performances in 1928 at The Community Playhouse. Marcelle assisted with costumes and Guy acted in the production alongside a Nebraska native named Henry Fonda.
Marcelle and Guy married on June 17, 1931, and moved to Los Angeles. Guy managed business and investments for several prominent Hollywood stars, including Jimmy Stewart. The couple had two daughters, Gay and Linda. Marcelle passed away on June 7, 1972, at the age of 66. Photographs of Marcelle, along with her wedding dress, are now in the EHF collections.
To learn more about Marcelle and the Folda family, be sure to read Horseshoe Island: The Folda Years, by Stanford H. Sholem. You can purchase the book at the Anderson Store Museum Gift Shop or from our online store.
Guest Blogger Emily Irwin