Folly gets new employee

Published 10:47 pm Saturday, July 19, 2014

Bob Lytle Jr. fell into his new part-time job at Riddick’s Folly by happenstance.

His niece loves American Girl dolls, and the downtown house museum has American Girl programs periodically. He and his wife stopped by one day and wound up taking a tour of the 21-room house.

“I could not believe this place,” Lytle said. “I had no idea this place was that large.”

Bob Lytle Jr

Bob Lytle Jr

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Lytle is a retired accountant and loves history, particularly Civil War history. Those two qualities made him perfect for the job, which involves tracking the museum’s expenses and giving tours of the house, which saw action during the Civil War as the headquarters of a Union general during the occupation of the city.

When Folly Director Edward King suggested Lytle come work for the museum, he agreed.

“I thought, ‘I’m not doing anything with my time. That’s a good idea,’” Lytle said.

He’s a Hampton Roads native who raised his two sons in Great Bridge. He and his wife moved to Suffolk about five years ago. One of their sons is finishing a doctoral degree in criminology and criminal justice; the other is in a master’s program in art education.

Though Lytle, who also served in the U.S. Army for two years, said the job is “quite different from anything I’ve had in the past,” he’s enjoying his role at the museum.

“It’s the best-kept secret in Suffolk.”