A matter of taste, not taxes
To the Editors:
As the executive director of Rock Ford Plantation, I am writing to address any misconception that might have been created by the juxtaposition of the headline, "Tax Evasion with Style," directly next to a prominent photo of Rock Ford that appeared in the Lifestyle section, March 8.
Although the substance of the article by Gregory J. Scott, AIA, dealt with architectural techniques employed in past centuries to reduce the amount that buildings were assessed for property taxes, many of our trustees, members and volunteers have phoned me to express their concern that the placement of a photo of Rock Ford next to the headline could provoke an inference of wrongdoing by our historic house museum in either the past or the present.
Obviously, persons who read and understood the substance of Mr. Scott's article would know that there is no basis for such an inference. Unfortunately, many people form opinions by scanning headlines and photos without reading the content of newspaper articles. I thus feel compelled to write this letter to "nip in the bud" any notion that the Rock Ford Foundation has at any time engaged in any form of tax evasion, either with or without "style."
With regard to the substantive content of the article, I would like to address the caption to the photo of Rock Ford Plantation, which maintains that the original construction of Rock Ford's two large chimneys, each containing four flues, to accommodate the mansions eight total fireplaces, was intended to reduce the higher real estate taxes, which General Edward Hand would have incurred had the house been adorned with more than two chimneys. To the best of my knowledge, the construction of Rock Ford with two large end chimneys was more of a reflection of the late Georgian architectural style than it was of a desire to evade or reduce property taxes.
Samuel C. Slaymaker
Rock Ford Plantation