Mary Elizabeth Dulin (or Mollie, as she was known) was born in 1865 in Hopkins, Kentucky. She married Neal Glenn in 1889 and they would move to Springfield shortly after, followed by Mollie’s parents and her brother, Hance.
Neel and Hance went on to open Dulin, Glenn, & Company, a department store that quickly became a staple for Springfield residents and neighboring communities alike. Mollie would accompany Neel and Hance on their purchasing trips to advise them on current fashion trends; her eye for detail helped contribute to the store’s success. In 1902, Mollie purchased a house and lot on the corner of 5th Avenue West. The existing structure was torn down and Mollie and Neel’s house began to take shape: a beautiful brick home built in the Colonial Revival style. Mollie’s eye for aesthetics touched every corner of the house as she decorated, carefully selecting each and every piece that would complete the rooms.
Both Mollie and Neel, were active members in the Springfield community. Mollie herself was a devoted member in the First Methodist Church and the multitude of clubs that met in homes around Springfield. When one of her favorite organizations, the Short Story Club, expressed a desire to sponsor Springfield’s first library, Mollie provided the space above the Dulin & Glenn store. Her social acumen and love of Springfield established her as an invaluable member of the community.
Mollie lived as a widow in the home she built with Neel for sixteen years after his death. Even then, she remained active and engaged in the community. Her love for the city her husband called “the garden spot of the universe” would continue even after her passing in 1946. In her will, she chose to leave her home for use as the Glenn Memorial Library and Woman’s Club. The Short Story Club was also invited to relocate the library from their previous location to the Glenn, where they remained until 1969.
Over the years, the Springfield Federation of Women’s Clubs has benefited from Mollie’s generosity and sought to return the favor as they participate in a variety of community outreach programs. The organization cares for the house through the funds raised at the annual Christmas Sampler event every December.
Mollie’s story reminds us that even an ordinary life can leave an unforgettable legacy. Her heart for Springfield and its people will continue to live on in the Glenn for years to come.