Martha Warren Hertel (1915-2004) was born in Forest Home and lived here most of her life. In 2019, her daughter Lucy scanned or transcribed some of the pieces that Martha wrote about her life in Forest Home. They include:
- Warren Farm and Growing Up There, a talk given to the Forest Home Embroidery Club, written no earlier than 1986
- Forest Home History, a talk given to the Forest Home Embroidery Club on April 21, 1987
- School Life as a Fourth Grader about 1925, written about 1992
- Grandmother Whitson’s Vote (in 1920)
- Forest Home Stories, written in March 1994
Some biographical details, emphasizing Martha’s connections to Forest Home, follow.
Martha was born in the “white farmhouse at the top of the hill,” now 127 Warren Road, on October 8, 1915. That house was the family home from 1907 to 1978. Her father, George Frederick Warren, was a professor in Cornell’s college of agriculture. George and his wife Mary Whitson Warren also farmed on the 86 acres that came with the house. Some of that land is now occupied by Fairway Drive, Crest Lane, and the Cornell Golf Course.
Martha was the fifth of six children. She went to the Forest Home School in a building that is now part of the Cornell Botanic Gardens (100 Judd Falls Road).
Martha married John Parker Hertel in 1938. They moved into the white farmhouse in 1949 and their seven children grew up there, just as Martha had. In 1978, when the children were grown, Martha and John sold the farmhouse and moved to 130 Crest Lane.
Soon after that, Martha wrote the story of The Path, now known as the Forest Home Walkway. In 1911, her father had bought a ten-foot strip of land running down from opposite the white farmhouse to between 200 and 206 Forest Home Drive, to use as a path to walk to campus. Around 1980, Martha and her siblings gave the ten-foot strip of land to the Town of Ithaca.
Martha was active as a Girl Scout leader in Forest Home and as an administrator with the Seven Lakes Girl Scout Council for twenty-five years.
Martha and her husband were dedicated members of the Forest Home Chapel. John Hertel was a Trustee and Church Council Chair.
In November 2005, the chapel’s new organ was dedicated to Martha and her sister, Mary Warren Swan (1917-2005). They had been long-time supporters of the chapel and lovers of music. The new organ was made possible through the generosity of their family and friends.
In 1996, Martha moved to Kendal of Ithaca, where she died on June 7, 2004.