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Marty and Jim met in Bitburg, Germany, where Marty was teaching junior high English and History for USAFE Dependents and Jim was supply officer for the 36th Headquarters Squadron USAFE. They returned to the US in 1960, were married, and moved to Columbus, Ohio, where Jim entered OSU Law School and Marty taught junior high in Grandview Heights.

In 1965 they returned to Jim's hometown of Wooster, Ohio, where Jim became the third generation Taggart to practice law in Wooster. They had three children Jim, Beth, and Nancy. In 1976 they moved into the family home which had been built in 1883 by Jim's grandfather and was located next to the Compton home. As in the law practice, Jim and Marty became the third generation of Taggarts to live in the Taggart home. 

In 1990 when Mary Belle and Leila moved to Westview Manor nursing home, it became apparent that their property was to be sold, and would probably be divided into many lots. Since both the Taggart and Compton properties covered the area from Bowman Street on the south to Spring Street on the north, there was concern about what would be developed and how it would affect the Taggart property. Having had an option to purchase for several years, Jim and his brother David decided to exercise the option to buy.

And so, the Compton property was purchased. It is interesting to know that the "garden area" lot between the homes was formerly owned by the Taggart family. The two families had been neighbors for ninety years. The next question became, "What do we do with it?". Jim and Marty quickly decided that the house__although in need of repair and renovating__was well worth salvaging...... and what better use than to have it become a bed and breakfast!

The name for the B & B came easily, we chose to remember Leila and Mary Belle who had enjoyed the trees, gardens, and birds for so many years! Thus the Leila Belle Inn was born in 1993, following two years of extensive renovations. (This is another story with pictures that we save for our guests to peruse!)

When Jim and Marty began clearing away weeds and brush to prepare planting areas for gardens, they uncovered four brick-lined garden areas measuring 20x30 feet. Here were the original garden areas that had been overun with bushes and weeds from lack of attention for over thirty years! Two areas were carefully cleared and the waiting see what would come up...Surprises have come up every year, such as trillium, white and yellow trout lilies, irises, globe thistles, yellow violets, dogtooth violets, jack-in-the pulpits, spiderwort, old fashioned sweet rocket, daylillies, daffodils, peonies, wisteria, mosquito plants, wild geranium, and climbing roses. Four years later only two of the four quadrants are fully restored. Work is in progress on the remaining two and will be completed by 1998.

A new herb garden was planted in June 1997 and features a cross path with a raised urn planted with trailing floral vines.  An adjoining sitting area with white wrought iron table and chairs provides a shaded viewing of the new garden.

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copyright 1997 MCTaggart

last updated August 1998