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The Baxter Family Piano!

Brigham Larson Pianos

I am a storyteller - a writer and filmmaker. This has been my passion since I was a kid. I had an amazing childhood, growing up with movies like Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Back to the Future - all of the great movies of my generation! That, coupled with supportive parents, family and friends, led me to pursue filmmaking and video production as a career. My work has involved national television, documentaries and short film, and large scale corporate video production. Our piano has a unique story that I want to tell in a documentary film. I want to include the restoration of the piano as a thread throughout the film while we share the history of the piano, the story of the original owner, and the beautiful, selfless act that brought the piano into our family one hundred years ago.
Our piano has a storied past, and a connection to significant people and events in Hot Springs, Arkansas from the early 1900s. The piano was purchased by Judge C. Floyd Huff as a gift for his daughter, Garland. It was well known in town that Garland was a talented pianist, and in her teenage years, she was performing regularly at social events and gaining notoriety through her music. An unfortunate tragedy cut Garland’s life short just weeks before her fifteenth birthday in 1913. She was allegedly killed by the family’s servant, who met his end at the hands of an angry mob. Word of her death was front page news every day for a week. The city’s business district closed for the afternoon during Garland’s funeral procession. And then…the entire ordeal was swept under the rug...and would have been lost to history had it not been for her piano. A few years after these events, sometime in the 1920s, young Florence Rowe and her brothers were invited to Judge Huff’s home, where they performed music at a party. Florence played the piano while she and her brothers sang popular songs of the time. Judge Huff was deeply moved by her playing, which reminded him of his daughter, Garland. The Judge told Florence that he wanted her to have his daughter’s piano, knowing it would be cared for in her possession. Florence kept the piano for the rest of her life, passing it on to her daughter, Marguerite upon her death in 1975. In 2011, Marguerite was required to move into an assisted living apartment and was unable to take the piano with her. She wanted it to remain in her family, and asked my wife and I if we would take it. Marguerite is my wife’s aunt, and was thrilled that we agreed to take her mother’s piano. She told us the story about Judge Huff giving the piano to her mother, but those were the only details she knew. My interest was piqued, and I did some research on Judge Huff and his family. That’s when I discovered the story about his daughter’s death, which gave context to Judge Huff’s decision to give the piano to Florence. It is such a beautiful ending to a tragic story, and by the selfless act of Judge Huff we now know his daughter, Garland. I want to produce a documentary about Garland’s story, told through the “voice” of her piano. I want to include the restoration process throughout the film, and when the piano is finished it would be returned to the historic Huff house, still standing and in use in Hot Springs, Arkansas. The house is currently being renovated and will be used as a social venue for musicians and artists. Our family will retain ownership of the piano, per Aunt Marguerite’s wishes, but we think it is fitting that the piano be returned home and used properly in that setting, on loan from our family as a fitting piece of history to the Huff family legacy and to the city of Hot Springs.

  • YEAR 1900-1910
  • MAKE Tragic 1900's Murder, Leads Filmmaker to Restore Family Piano & Return it to the Historic Huff House in Hot Springs, Arkansas!
  • FINISH Cherry
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