History for the holidays:
Long Homestead annually opens its doors for Christmas season

 

"Annual event does a wonderful job of getting people into the house — and we need to get people into the house,” she said. “People don’t know this place is here. It’s a wonderful piece of history.”

The Tonawanda News, November 29, 2012 -- The Benjamin Long Homestead is putting on its Christmas finery once again this season in hopes of drawing history buffs new and old to the 183-year-old building at the confluence of Tonawanda and Ellicott creeks in Tonawanda. Carole Barnard, caretaker of the homestead at 24 E. Niagara St., Tonawanda, NY, said the [Christmas tours]... offer a way for visitors to see the historic home in an environment somewhat different than its usual Memorial Day to Labor Day summer hours...

For a number of years, the Homestead has been decorated for the holiday season by the Garden Club of the Tonawandas... Pine boughs hang at the doors. From the kitchen to the dining rooms and parlors, and from the study to the upstairs bedrooms, tables and windowsills and mantles are decked with greenery and ribbons and candles — the electric kind. Decorated Christmas trees stand in many rooms, and old-fashioned Santa figures rest on desks and chairs...

More than 100 years later, the house was purchased in 1975 by the City of Tonawanda and restored to the way it would have been in 1829. It is furnished and operated by the Historical Society of the Tonawandas. Its original materials are completely local to Western New York, from black walnut walls and and white oak beams, and from gray stone excavated from construction of the Erie Canal to Medina sandstone quarried and then transported on that same canal, Barnard said...

In the dining room, the table is currently set with modern red and green china — not something that would have made an appearance in the 1800s. (Barnard also showed off a set of Blue Willow porcelain, which usually graces the table.) It’s there for the high teas that will be presented [several times each year]. Rose Marohn, a member of the historical society, said the [December] events will include soup, scones, sandwiches, Christmas cookies and live entertainment by musicians. “At Christmastime, it’s especially nice,” she said. “It’s just very relaxing.” Barnard said the teas serve a purpose beyond that of providing a little bit of Christmas Relaxation...

Article by Jill Keppeler, The Tonawanda News, November 29, 2012.

Photos by Don Heupel, for The News.


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