Meet the Brackett House Innkeepers
Kim is so grateful to be the lead innkeeper at Brackett House. She loves the history of the inn, its architecture, and she has been privy to most of its many evolutions especially the beauty of what you see today.
Kim grew up in Mount Vernon and is the fourth generation of her family to reside here. She has lived in a wide variety of places doing a wide variety of things, but when choosing where to raise her children, she wanted to be in the best town in the Midwest—Mount Vernon.
Kim has a degree in elementary education from Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, where she attended on a full athletic scholarship to play volleyball. She also worked as a licensed cosmetologist for 27 years. Her various careers had a common theme taking care of people—a good fit for an innkeeper.
Her constant joy is her children and 2 grandchildren and all of their activities leave her a small amount of time for giving to her community. Kim serves on the board of the Mount Vernon Lisbon Community Theatre. She is a founding member of the children’s music group, Balderdash Ditty, who perform music education to pre-k children in the area. She is also a co-host on a local talk show, Good Morning Mt. Vernon-Lisbon, a weekly broadcast that “promotes the awesomeness in the Mt. Vernon and Lisbon area.” Kim belongs to the small but mighty organization called, The A-Go-Go’s, which raises money to fund local projects. She volunteers with Uptown Theatre Honors, which produces an annual award ceremony to celebrate people who support the arts in the Mount Vernon area.
When at Brackett House, Kim likes to point out the east windows and tell the story of how her grandfather and his brothers and sisters were raised in the house next door. Frank “Zeke” Benesh used to slip out his second floor window and shimmy down the front porch posts (to sneak out in the middle of the night) when he was a teenager. The thought of that always brings a smile to her face.
Joe Jennison is thrilled to welcome Cornell guests and other travelers to the area as a part-time Brackett House Innkeeper. Most days he can be found at the Mount Vernon Visitors Center in Memorial Park greeting travelers to the area at his full-time job.
His primary employer is the Mount Vernon-Lisbon Community Development Group (CDG), a non-profit organization with the mission “to develop and promote the business environment, including but limited to the Main Street District, and enhance the quality of life in the communities we serve.”
Joe loves to volunteer and works with 488 registered volunteers managing festivals and community-betterment projects in the Mount Vernon-Lisbon area. He is also very involved in the arts and can often be found perusing local galleries, theatrical performances, or live music events.
He loves history, walking tours, and sharing his knowledge of Mount Vernon and Cornell with others.
Marsha Siggins McWhinney
Marsha Siggins McWhinney has many family ties to Cornell College and the Brackett House. Her great, great, great uncle, William Brackett, built and lived in Brackett House. She is excited for the opportunity to be a part of the wonderful Brackett House team with Kim and Joe.
Marsha was born and raised in Mount Vernon and returned here after an airline career. Marsha enjoys this area and seeing friendly, familiar faces every day. After graduating from business school in Des Moines, she knew she wanted to work for the airlines to gain opportunities to travel with her father. While with the airlines she worked in Peoria, Chicago, Waterloo, Des Moines, Milwaukee, Cedar Rapids and St. Louis, though her goal was to end up back in the Mount Vernon area. She retired from American Airlines in 2002, and took the opportunity to work in the Mount Vernon area, including at the Mount Vernon Bank.
Marsha’s daughter, Mary Beth, and her husband Kyle live in St. Paul, Minnesota. She also has two brothers, Jeff and wife Bettie in Atlantic, Iowa and Eric and wife Kim in Mount Vernon. In her free time, she looks forward to swimming laps, traveling with her eager travel companion Joe Schmitz, and spending time with family.
You can reach the innkeepers on duty at any time at 319.895.4425 or email Bracketthousebnb@cornellcollege.edu.