NORRISTOWN – There’s a new twist for the Norristown Garden Club vacation home this year. For the 71st annual holiday home visit, historic public buildings, built in the 18th and 19th centuries, will replace private homes for the 2021 visit. These five fascinating and authentic historic public buildings are located along the non less historic Skippack Pike / Route 73 and each will be beautifully decorated in a manner appropriate for each site.
According to the General President of the event, Caren Puschak, the tour will take place over two days – Thursday, December 9 and Friday, December 10, and only during the day (10 – 4), as the properties would not have had d ‘electricity in the era described during our tour,’ said Puschak of East Norriton.
Norristown Garden Club will beautify the exteriors of all sites in a manner appropriate to the property for the holiday season. Hope Lodge staff and volunteers Peter Wentz and Pennypacker Mills will present the interiors of these properties in accordance with the customs of the era they represent. They will also take ticket holders on guided tours of the alluring first floors of each site.
Bethel Hill Church and the Highlands will be decorated – both inside and out – by the Garden Club, and will include fresh flowers and vegetables and creative ideas. A bonus this year: An Emporium of Handcrafted Items where you can ‘Shop Until You Drop’ will be found in the Highlands.
Please visit www.norristogardenclub.org for ticket information. Please note: Holiday House ticket requests must be received by December 2 to allow time to mail tickets. There will be no tickets available at the door during the tour.
The stars of the Norristown Garden Club’s 2021 Holiday House Tour, which benefits the club’s scholarship program and other community activities, are:
Pavilion of Hope (1748)
According to Kevin Horan, President, Friends of Hope Lodge, “The two periods (Colonial and Colonial Revival) depicted are how the first and last private owners of the house fitted out and furnished the house. Ironically, the first owner, Samuel Morris 1748-1770, used bright colors but sparse furniture while William & Alice Degn (1922-1953) used black and white and upholstered furniture. During the Christmas holidays, the Degns would have decorated the house while Morris would not have respected his Quaker religion which does not celebrate Christmas. “
Hope Lodge is one of Pennsylvania’s finest Georgian-style homes. Ticket holders will experience the two periods depicted in the mansion as staff and volunteers guide them through the first floor of the property. –
The Highlands (1796)
It was built in 1794-1796 by Philadelphia merchant and politician Anthony Morris, and was designed by Philadelphia politician Timothy Matlack). After a number of owners, it was finally sold to Emily Sinkler Roosevelt in 1941. Roosevelt and her husband donated the property to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 1957.
Today the Highlands are a 44-acre site with a late 18th-century Georgian mansion and formal gardens.
During the tour, one of the spacious and elegant bedrooms will be set up for a wedding dinner, complete with a ‘table of hearts’, decorated cake and vintage wedding dresses. (According to Ana Hartman, Speaker of the House – from North Wales. Nancy Sliner from Norristown is co-chair)
Another will feature a festive dinner.
Barbara Grula, from Lansdale, noted that “the Christmas tree will have handmade decorations such as paper candles with Indian brush flames, as well as a mushroom tree decoration. The dining table will be topped with Christmas china, red goblets, gold cookware, and a special centerpiece. Wreaths with oak leaves painted in gold and a red ribbon will enhance the windows.
Judy Harp (East Norriton), reported that: “We are having a happy birthday children’s party. The table will have a flower cake with candy canes. The cutlery will be snowmen with snowball drinks and handmade crackers.
Harp made a 51/2 foot snowman with a sheet, smiling with a top hat. She also made red and white striped ties that will make the chairs look special for the party.
“A large tree branch attached to a tree base and sprayed with white paint will be decorated with birds made from pine cones and feathers, gingerbread men and candy canes. There will be hand-stenciled paper covered gifts in an old wooden wagon and more, Harp said. “We hope it will be a fun surprise for everyone.”
“This location will include an Emporium to help visitors with their holiday shopping,” said Ana Hartman. “Some of the interesting items that will be for sale are: botanical prints, local honey, flower arrangements, handmade jewelry and Christmas decorations, stationery and tiles. You can shop until you drop. ”
Bethel Hill Church
This site’s co-chair, Diane Powell (Spring House), shares this information about Bethel Hill United Methodist Church (dedicated in 1770; its original location is now the Independence War Cemetery site).
“Bethel Hill UMC has a proud history since 1770,” said Powell. “On the Norristown Garden Club Holiday Tour, we will recognize this story. In the church you will see a beautiful, fresh flower arrangement in honor of the unknown soldiers of the American Revolution who died in the original chapel (used as a hospital) after the Battle of Germantown and are buried in the cemetery.
“We also celebrate the life of the church today. The tree, which is installed at the church’s “Festival des Verts”, is decorated with Chrismons. Chrismons are made by Sunday school children and used as a teaching aid. You can learn more about these symbols of faith in an exhibit at the back of the church.
Peter Wentz Farm
Built in 1758 – with many German influences and restored by Montgomery County in the days of 1777 when it served as Washington’s headquarters during the Revolution, this site features authentic furnishings, original architecture, kitchen wall decoration unique and fascinating history.
Karen Nemeth (Lafayette Hill), Co-Chair with Beth Bynon (East Norriton) recounts this about the Peter Wentz Farm and their “Homegrown Holiday” theme.
“The Peter Wentz farm dates back to 1744,” Nemeth said. “On NGC tour days, visitors will be invited into the house by volunteers in period costume and they will receive a brief history of the farm. Since the houses were not decorated for Christmas in colonial times and there were few celebrations, our team will focus on the farm outbuildings. Each farm would have had a vegetable garden and we use the one in Wentz as the inspiration for our holiday home “Homegrown”. Team members were given permission to cut and pick flowers, herbs and a variety of other plants and squash from the garden. We are in the process of drying what we have gathered and will incorporate the materials into our designs. Burlap sacks will be filled with dried materials and displayed on the wooden fence surrounding the garden. Other outbuildings that will catch our attention include a log cabin, a smoking room, an outbuilding and a cooler. Look for farm animals that will be created by multiple members of our team.
Montgomery County administers this site, which is fully furnished with antiques belonging to former Palestinian Authority Governor Samuel V. Pennypacker; the docents will explain what it was like to live in the 1900s. It was built in 1720; redesigned in 1901 as the residence of a country gentleman.
The dining room will be set up for a holiday celebration and will feature the beautiful and elaborate silver tea set presented to Governor Pennypacker when he left office. The family coat of arms is engraved on each coin. The dining room was the setting for all of Pennypacker’s meals: breakfast, dinner, and lunch.
For Christmas there is an elaborate centerpiece featuring a red cardinal. Taxidermy was popular for decoration as well as for ladies’ hats and elegant fur wraps.
The dining room table is decorated with fine china, silverware, and family serving pieces.
There is also a large tea set which was given to Samuel on his last day in office by his department heads as a heirloom gift to pass on to his children. Each piece of the set, including knives, forks and spoons, bears the family crest.
“Welcome to Pennypacker Mills, home of Pennsylvania Governor Samuel Pennypacker and his family about a hundred years ago. About 95% of the items you will see during your visit belonged to the family. The holiday decorations are inspired by those of the early 1900s, when families used everything they could to add sparkle and shine to their home decor because there was no electricity. here at the time.