Sally Spofford

Sally at 84th Birthday (April 4, 2001)

Sally Spofford “the bird lady of Portal” retired from her position at Cornell University and, with her husband Walter, moved to Portal in 1972 where they bought a house and embarked on extensive renovations.

In 2008, when the new owner of the property (Mr. Don Hill) began extensive revisions, the interior walls were removed and a jar with a letter inside was found (see below).


This old chimney was partly taken down and then sealed off in January 1976, when Mr. Russell Crutcher put new panelling on the walls for the owners, Walter and Sally Spofford. The floor was re-tiled at the same time.


The chimney was part of the oldest wing of the house- and the house had been a part of the old Greenemyer ranch. The Spoffords were told by some older residents of the area that this building at one time was a turkey house, and at another it was a small guest house for the Ranch. Jack and Margery Moore purchased it around the late 1950's and in the next few years they added on the big living-room with fireplace, changed the bathroom lay-out around between the two bedrooms in this old portion, closed up the door which had led to the old kitchen. They doubled the size of the kitchen, and built a cinder-block wing on the back which was to be a photographic studio for Mr. Moore. He died before its completion, and Mrs. Moore moved to Tucson. The house was vacant until 1968 when Mrs. Moore sold the house to Neil Carmichael, who did not occupy it except one or two weeks a year. A resident 'housekeeper' did some painting inside, but nothing else. In 1972 Carmichael sold the house and 13.5 of the 25 acres to the Spoffords, Who, beginning in 1974 began finishing the back with and putting on panelling and floor tile. The half of the chimney (which had not been used for years anyway) was knocked out and then sealed off - with this note inside.

Spofford Home - circa 1974

Howard Topoff 2011