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By Margaret Toal
For the Record 

Orange got to claim famous 1910 champion

 

Last updated 5/14/2024 at 10:27pm

Sabine Rarebit, a smooth-haired Fox terrier raised by F.H. Farwell of Orange won the Best of Show in the 1910 Westminster Dog Show. Farwell, who as a lumber executive and wealthy investor, operated Sabine Kennels and built a Spanish Mission-style mansion on Green Avenue. After his death, the mansion became a popular Mexican restaurant and was later demolished.

The high society and dog fanciers were shocked in 1910 as the East Coast terrier who had won Best of Show at the Westminster Dog Show three years running was beaten by a terrier from Orange, Texas.

Sabine Rarebit, a smooth-haired terrier raised by F.H. Farwell's Sabine Kennels was the Best in Show. The final judging was between best of male and best of female.

For the first three years the dog show gave a Best in Show award, a bitch named Warren Remedy from a kennel in New Jersey had won best female and Best in Show. But in 1910, she even lost the best female. That award went Sabine Fernie, also a smooth-haired terrier from Sabine Kennels.

So when the finals arrived to the crowded event at Madison Square Garden on February 11, 1910, everyone knew Sabine Kennels of Orange would take Best in Show. But which dog?

Poor Fernie is lost to history. Sabine Rarebit, though, is kept alive through a sculpture, paintings, photographs, and a couple of thousand internet references. Locally, an oil painting of the dog decorates one of the upstairs bedrooms of the Heritage House Museum of Orange history.

F.H. Farwell of Orange fit into the East Coast high society that had changed as the Gilded Age dissolved. He had the wealth to spend on an expensive hobby like operating a kennel, plus buying breeding dogs, training the dogs, and showing the dogs.

The June 2022 edition of DogNews.com has a detailed story about the early winners of the Westminster reports and that Farwell would sometimes travel with "as many as 60 dogs with two handlers, one to groom and one to show."

The story also says even though Warren Remedy had a competition with Farwell's dogs, she was sired by Sabine Resist.

All the terriers from Farwell's kennels had the first name of Sabine, the name of the kennel. Even though Orange, Texas, is given credit for being the home to Sabine Kennels, it was in today's West Orange.

F.H. Farwell was an executive and general manager of the Lutcher and Moore Lumber Company. He was also an investor in businesses, banking, and even the Yellow Pine Paper Mill. The DogNews.com story said he was a "colorful" wealthy Texan with cattle ranching. Farwell likely had invested in cattle, but ranching was not his main source of income.

With his wealth, he was able to build a mansion on Green Avenue, which at the turn of the 20th Century was lined in mansions.

Farwell's house was unique. It was in the Spanish Mission style with a stucco exterior. Photographs from the Heritage House collection show the interior filled with Mission Style furniture that appears to be some of the original from Stickley, a famous furniture designer and maker.

Frederick Henry Farwell died in 1947 at the age of 77, and his wife, Fanny Barber Farwell, died in 1952 at the age of 79. They are buried in Orange's Evergreen Cemetery.

After Farwell's death, the downstairs of the mansion was turned into a popular Mexican restaurant named "Little Mexico," which was opened until the early 1970s. The mansion, on the northeast corner of Green and Eighth Street, was demolished in the mid-1970s to make room for part of the Stark Museum of Art, including the parking lot.

The late James Pruter, who grew up in Orange once recalled that during the early days of World War II, he saw Mr. Farwell, who was in his 70s, make a contribution to the war effort. During a scrap metal drive to collect items to be melted down for ammunition and fighting machines, Farwell brought in dozens of his old trophies from dog shows.

Whether the Westminster Best in Show trophy was among the ones melted down, who knows? A couple of Farwell's dog trophies are also on view at Heritage House, but neither one comes from that most famous of shows and Sabine Rarebit.

 

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