I’ve been a member of the Foothills community for almost forty years, and I am so proud to call this my home. I first came here as a student at Converse College and made lasting friendships while enjoying the area’s diverse equestrian activities –riding, showing, and foxhunting. I still remember the thrill of jumping the hedges at the Cotton Patch Bottoms, the site of the 1956 Olympic selection trials. After graduation, I accepted a job galloping racehorse for Tony Wallace at Fairview Farms and made this my home. I married Tony in 1975, and together we managed and operated Fairview Farms, which was then the Upstate’s only thoroughbred racehorse training facility and the producer of such nationally known stakes horses as Eclipse Award winners Chris Evert and Turkoman. I have fond memories of trips to Saratoga and Keeneland for races and sales, and visits to such historic venues as Aqueduct, Belmont Park, Hialeah, and Arlington Park, but my most treasured memories are of seeing a new crop of yearlings arrive at Fairview each year and helping them mature into young athletes.
Tony and I raised our daughter, Megan, here. She inherited our love of the equestrian sport, so for many years, I was a ‘horse show mom’. Megan’s homebred pony, Remember the Laughter, was ranked third in the nation in the Green Pony Division and went on to become first in the nation in the Large Pony Division with his next owner. I was also a ‘stage mom’, as Megan co-hosted a children’s television show for the local CBS affiliate, and starred in several Tryon Little Theater and Spartanburg Theater productions over the years. Megan later studied at the Lee Strasburg Theatre Institute in New York City and received a Master of Arts degree in Producing from the National Film & Television School in London. Now an award-winning independent film producer, she lives in London and NYC, but her heart remains here. In 2005, she staged a benefit performance of Noel Coward’s “Fallen Angels” at the Tryon Little Theater and continues to look for ways to give back to the community that nurtured her passion for the performing arts into a career.
When Tony retired from the management of Fairview Farms in 1995, I embarked on a new phase of my career, as a full-time Realtor. As an owner of Walker, Wallace & Emerson Realty, I now have the privilege of introducing others to the unique quality of life that drew me here so many years ago. My extensive knowledge of the equestrian world has been a great asset to my clients because I know what horse people need in a property. Like all equestrians, I understand the importance of open space. I’ve seen far too many communities like ours swept away by the urban sprawl that follows in the wake of unplanned, destructive development, and I have made it my mission to protect and conserve the land and the community that I love.
Greenspace of Fairview was my first conservation project. Located in close proximity to the Spartanburg/Greenville industrial corridor, Fairview Farms was a particularly attractive prospect for developers. In partnership with the late Herbert L. (“Bud”) Myers, a retired corporate executive and a passionate supporter of land conservancy efforts here and in Pennsylvania, I organized and managed a Regulation D Private Offering that culminated in the formation of Greenspace of Fairview, LLC. Our mission was to acquire Fairview Farms and to ensure the permanent preservation of its essential character as open space and horse country subject to very limited development. In 2001, Greenspace placed the farm under a conservation easement. Nearly two-thirds of the property has been designated as commonly held open space, forever protected from subdivision and development. The remainder is comprised of shareholder-owned, individual residential farms/estates ranging in size from 25 to over 50 acres, also subject to the conservation easement that prohibits subdivision and protects the essentially rural character of the properties. As a result of our efforts, 1331 acres are now preserved and protected in perpetuity as Greenspace of Fairview, managed and enjoyed by thirteen shareholders who have adopted a stewardship plan to nurture and enhance the land.
When we formed Greenspace, Bud and I intended to make it a model for future conservation efforts, and we were deeply gratified by the community’s response. In 2003, we worked with the owner of The Cotton Patch to preserve the historic venue where I spent so many happy hours as a collegiate equestrian. The 403-acre property is now under conservation easement, with two-thirds of the farm designated as protected open space and the remainder devoted to limited residential development. Three more easements followed; to date, I have been successful in protecting over 2,000 acres from development. In 2005, I was honored with the Conservation Steward of the Year award from Upstate Forever, the land conservancy that holds the easements.
My commitment to this community runs deep, like the roots I’ve put down here. Walker, Wallace & Emerson has been a proud supporter of Habitat for Humanity. I am a past president of the Tryon-Polk County Board of Realtors, and a member of the Landrum Area Business Association and the Tryon Little Theatre Board of Directors. I have served on the board of the Foothills Equestrian Nature Center (FENCE), and each spring you will find me serving as a paddock judge at the Block House Steeplechase, a job that my late husband, Tony, performed for many years. I have made it a priority to support local land conservancies, community supported agriculture, and the “buy local” initiatives that are so essential to our quality of life here in the Foothills.
This area is home to a dedicated and diverse group of residents who have joined together to keep it a very special place. In order to protect and better our community, we must continue to be active and caring participants in the inevitable changes that are coming and to direct them in a way that respects the land, natural resources, and sense of community that makes this such a special place. For me, it’s all about preserving the rural character of this area, maintaining and building a strong and stable environment for our local businesses, and protecting the quality of life in a small town that offers large opportunities.
In 2015 Madelon received the Realtor of The Year Award from the Hendersonville Board of Realtors and in 2016 the Outstanding Citizen of the Year Award from the Carolina Foothills Chamber of Commerce for her leadership in the advocacy effort that persuaded Duke Energy to reconfigure its’ proposed Western Carolinas Modernization Project so as to preserve the distinctive environment that is so essential to the economy and quality of life in the Foothills.