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Fate Undecided for Century-Old Lodge

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One hundred feet long and nearly as many years old, it was built by John Guy in 1910 as a hunting lodge. His son Briscoe B. Guy, 77, stands here today, regarding the house he offhandedly calls "a junk heap," but still hopes to save.

Guy recently signed a contract to sell the 28 acres he owns jointly with three nieces and nephews to Mark Putney, a well-known Stony Point developer who envisions 45 homes on the site.

"I of course love the place and don't want to sell it," says Guy, an engineer who is part owner of a local contracting firm. But passing the lodge and land to his descendants would undoubtedly cause arguments, he says: "The next generation will never agree on anything."

The house remains Guy's. Soon, everything else will become the developer's. Starting in September, Putney says, "a beautiful secluded development with nice, large homes" will rise on the riverside land.

Guy's not sure what to do with the lodge, once called "Point d'Esprit." He has considered selling it log by log, he says. But if anyone were to offer to dismantle, move and rebuild the place, he says, "I'd be much more interested."

When he was a child, his family lived there from April to November each year. They spent the seasons hunting, canoeing and swimming in the pool, which was one of only three in Richmond when it was built in 1924. One summer, 1,400 people came to swim, Guy says. Now the pool's empty, its bottom dark with oak leaves. A sign on the rusty gate says "Last one out — please lock gate."

The lodge itself remains a bachelor's pad extraordinaire after being occupied by various young men for the last 20 years. An Evel Knievel pinball game stands with four motorcycles, beneath tacked-up concert posters from Richmond bars gone 15 years or more. An errant dart from a long-ago game is firmly stuck above the door. The place smells of smoke, leaves and age.

Guy, himself, constructed a one-room addition in 1939, when he was 13 years old. Sunlight shines through a few chinks in the logs, but the walls still hold.

— Melissa Scott

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