Fall River Christmas House Tour 2006

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Fall River Christmas House Tour 2006

Postby Shelley » Mon Dec 18, 2006 9:38 am

With the weather as balmy as a Spring day and temperatures nearly reaching 60 degrees, the 2006 Preservation Society Christmas house tour got off to a grand start at 11 a.m. yesterday. On the front lawn of the Historical Society on Rock Street, a vintage car with a calliope attached filled the air with Christmas tunes as city carollers decked out in Victorian finery burst into song near the steps of the new tea house next door. Throngs of city residents and those from farther afield strolled the streets or cheered and waved from the horse-drawn carriages clattering up and down the streets.
A large marquee tent was pitched on the lawn with costumed waiters serving teas and Christmas fare while inside the tea house it was reservations -only for merry flocks of ladies in hats clinking porcelain tea cups.

The McWhirr exhibit enjoyed an appreciative audience as did the re-creation of McWhirrs' candy counter upstairs in the old Brayton manse. Vintage morsels such as licorice whips, candy buttons and clove drops flew off the shelves and the gift shop was packed with eager shoppers. There was hardly time to take it all in with so many properties on view, but I did manage to get around to most of them and take some photos to share with Lizzie friends here. :grin:

The Borden house was on the tour this year, even though it was a bit of a walk from the Hill section, and LeeAnn had a toothsome array of petits fours, scones, cookies, fruit, cheese and eggnog for the many guests who came through to admire "Lizzie's" little parlor tree. A good time was had by all, young and old, and a goodly sum taken in for benefit of Preservation Society projects. First, here is the program of properties and a little bit about each of these Painted Ladies. I am hoping my interior shots will do credit to some AMAZING homes up on The Hill.
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Postby Shelley » Mon Dec 18, 2006 9:45 am

My favorite, the Jacobsen house on Rock Street- the family has lovingly restored the house, and being antique dealers, have FILLED it from top to bottom with magnificent Renaissance Revival black walnut! I thought I had died and gone straight to heaven :lol:
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Postby Shelley » Mon Dec 18, 2006 10:27 am

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Postby shakiboo » Mon Dec 18, 2006 10:31 am

Sounds like you had a busy exciting time! Can't wait for the pictures! Thanks for sharing!
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Postby Shelley » Mon Dec 18, 2006 10:32 am

The little map was very helpful. The team of white draft horses in the upper left were the stars of yesterday's wagon tour. I hope they did not have to pull up and down some of those hills in the city! Dr. Lorenz was dressed in a magnificent elf costume and seemed to be having the best time of all. Santa also made appearances all over town in a very handsome red velvet suit and convincing whiskers and beard. I wanted to give it a tug, but contained myself. :lol:
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Postby Jeff » Mon Dec 18, 2006 5:10 pm

I wish I knew what time and where it started. I would have liked to have done that
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Postby Kat » Mon Dec 18, 2006 7:53 pm

Sounds great! Thanks for the update! Wish I had seen it all!

Locally, I did see a new sight- it was a skinny black Santa Claus smoking a cigarette behind a Cellular Phone store and it was 80 degrees out! :smile:
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Postby Susan » Mon Dec 18, 2006 9:38 pm

:lol: Kat, that sounds like it belongs in your only in Florida thread. I can recall seeing a Santa of color once in New York collecting money in one of those pots outside of a department store.

Thanks for sharing, Shelley, can't wait to see the pics! That sounds like an absolutely lovely way to enjoy the holidays. :grin:
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Postby Shelley » Mon Dec 18, 2006 10:40 pm

The last house I visited was 192 Lincoln, not too far from Maplecroft. This house featured many inlaid floors, glorious Victorian antiques and a spectacular table set in heavy Victorian silverplate. This was my second favorite. The owner also has a fabulous singing voice and treated us all to O Holy Night in the parlor, ably accompanied by a friend on the pianoforte.
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Postby Shelley » Mon Dec 18, 2006 10:42 pm

The master bedroom at 192 Lincoln. Every room had a Christmas tree. The woodwork was magnificent as well as original stained glass.
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Postby Shelley » Mon Dec 18, 2006 10:44 pm

It was not hard to imagine being back in time as the soft glow of this globe parlor lamp illuminated vintage silver teatime accessories with a background of delicate lace.
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Postby Shelley » Mon Dec 18, 2006 10:47 pm

The highlight for me of 192 Lincoln was the entry hall and grand staircase. There was a window seat at the top of the stairs (all walnut) topped by stained glass. The newel post had a stately bronze figure bearing a torch. This photo was taken by Father Robert from Taunton, a Catholic priest who has an interest in Lizzie too! The house was filled with candy and bon-bons. Here is my Nutcracker "Sweet"!
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Postby Shelley » Mon Dec 18, 2006 10:49 pm

On the way back to Second Street, I snapped this of the rear of Maplecroft taken from Belmont Street. I only saw one house illuminated on French that night. I thought maybe Mr. Dube would wrap the Fallen Maple in holiday lights!
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Postby Shelley » Mon Dec 18, 2006 10:55 pm

This was my very favorite house on Rock Street, the home of the Jacobsens. The couple are antiques collectors and this house must be seen to be believed- magnificent. Upon entering, a "sprite" of Christmas Present with a wreath of holly greeted me while in the background a piano was playing carols. The daughter of the house, Miss Charlotte, lovingly restored the multi-colored ceilings, taking up to 4 months to do just the diningroom. I exclaimed and swooned at every turn as I have never seen anything like this house before. It is pure heaven for a Victoriana buff. I needed smelling salts to recover from terminal bliss. This is coming down the main staircase- oh, what sublime interiors. Were this MINE- I should never leave my house. I can understand Lizzie perfectly. What girl would not crave The Hill with all its splendors of velvet portieres, tufted upholstery, tassels, and damask and miles of fringe? I wanted to sing that old favorite "I dreamt I dwelt in marble halls, with vassels and serfs at my side" :lol:
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Postby Shelley » Mon Dec 18, 2006 11:03 pm

Back at the house. Mrs. Lucy Borden (a young 90- something) relative of Cook Borden , and her daughter Barbara (far right) made a house call. Miss Lucy was the stranger to whom I fled in the late night on August 4, 1998 when I was terrified in the guestroom. We still joke about it.
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Postby Shelley » Mon Dec 18, 2006 11:05 pm

"Miss" Lucy Borden, photos courtesy of Barbara Borden Morrissey. Miss Ellen Borden was also a guest at #92 yesterday. Miss Lucy always stays in Abby and Andrew's bedroom.
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Postby Shelley » Mon Dec 18, 2006 11:14 pm

The vintage car towing the old calliope was a big hit, shown here in the driveway of the Fall River Historical Society under the port-cochere.
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Postby Shelley » Mon Dec 18, 2006 11:16 pm

The Borden ladies were aboard in this scene taken on Rock Street.
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Postby Shelley » Mon Dec 18, 2006 11:26 pm

Costumed carolers on the lawn at the FRHS with tea tent just off to the right.
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Postby Shelley » Mon Dec 18, 2006 11:28 pm

LeeAnn and I lift our cup in a toast for a happy holiday to Lizzie friends everywhere! Bridget is in the sinkroom washing up the dishes.
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Postby Harry » Tue Dec 19, 2006 8:28 am

Thanks for the tour photos, Shelley. The insides of those houses are magnificent. Its nice to know that they are occupied and still being maintained. Now to get Mr. Dube to include Maplecroft some day.

That shot of Maplecroft from Belmont St. is cool. It's rare that you can see that much of the back of the house.

It was nice to see that 92 Second was included in the tour. You and Lee-ann look great in your costumes!
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Postby Angel » Tue Dec 19, 2006 8:44 am

Shelley, your pictures are just wonderful! God lord, woman- when do you ever sleep?
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Postby Jeff » Tue Dec 19, 2006 10:58 am

Those are awesome pictures!! Yes I can see why Lizzie wanted to live on "The Hill". If I knew about this in advance I would have grown a beard,
dyed it white and dressed like Andrew. :lol:
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Postby Shelley » Tue Dec 19, 2006 11:15 am

Thanks! How I wish I had more film that day. I still do not trust myself with the new digital camera so this was the old-fashioned kind. Many of the interiors are quite dark and so the photos do not do justice to these beautiful old homes. I do hope the Preservation will repeat this next year, and perhaps do a secret garden tour or something like that this summer. I never knew the riches lurking behind these old facades, nor the real enthusiasm there is in preserving the past exhibited by so many of the house owners I met.

Jeff- I am so sorry you did not see my post last week about this event! I kept looking for you around town and at the house. Maybe we can have a cemetery jaunt next week? Say, that Jacobson house on Rock street has an apartment for rent! It is all I can do to keep from packing up my suitcase now!

Now, we are all looking forward to the demolition of the bus station and rebirth of Second Street coming soon! Always something exciting going on. With all the foliage gone, it is easy to photograph some of the great details on the buildings which are usually so covered up in the summer. The Fall River in the snow issue of the Hatchet is my favorite.
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Postby theebmonique » Tue Dec 19, 2006 11:55 am

Shelley, you pictorial essays are quite delightful, and your added writings make it seem like I have my own personal travel guide for all things Fall River !

They just could not pay you what you are worth to be the "promotional director" for the City of Fall River. We are lucky to have you with us. THANK YOU for ALL that you do !!!





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Postby mbhenty » Tue Dec 19, 2006 2:08 pm

:smile:

Though I missed the tour of those wonderful buildings this weekend Shelley I have seen more than most.

I have worked inside well over 50 percent of the historical homes on the hill including the FRHS and 92................ walked, climbed, crawled in Cellars, attics, crawl spaces, bedrooms, closets and countless nooks and crannies.

Been inside every house you guys toured, except 1051 Highland; could have, but can't remember.

Took most of it for granted. Now that I can greatly appreciate historical architecture much more, I discover a squandered and missed opportunity.

Some of the most impressive houses I worked in were the CARR OSBOURN HOUSE, across the street from the FRHS, the DAVOL HOUSE at 252 High Street, the REMINGTON HOUSE at 511 Rock, considered by many as the most beautiful house in Fall River, the SEARS HOUSE on 72 Belmount, and the JOHN BRAYTON and JENNING HOUSES to name a tiny few.

I missed so much. With a hand full of work and countless houses to visit all I wanted to do is complete the work assignments and get home. :sad:
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Postby Shelley » Tue Dec 19, 2006 2:35 pm

Thanks, Tracy. I first loved the city for its mills and steamboats long before I had my Lizzie Epiphany. It is a city, not so large you feel dwarfed, like Boston, but small enough to feel intimate and familiar, and to discover the rich cultural diversity and sense of history there.

I often hear so many stories of growing up there and am envious of of those who lived those long ago days and simpler times. I live in the midst of so many grand old mill towns, but none quite like Fall River. Every visit brings some new delight and image, no matter what the season. MB- you are lucky to have seen so much history from the inside out! Lizzie is just the icing on the cake of an already fascinating place, and yes- I could work for the Chamber of Commerce any day of the week! :lol:
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Postby shakiboo » Tue Dec 19, 2006 4:36 pm

All I can say is "Oh, WOW!" The pictures are great!!! It looks like a wonderful time was had by all!! The houses are beautiful, thanks so much for sharing!!!
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Postby Kat » Tue Dec 19, 2006 10:31 pm

mbhenty @ Tue Dec 19, 2006 2:08 pm wrote::smile:

Though I missed the tour of those wonderful buildings this weekend Shelley I have seen more than most.

...
Been inside every house you guys toured, except 1051 Highland; could have, but can't remember.

Took most of it for granted. Now that I can greatly appreciate historical architecture much more, I discover a squandered and missed opportunity.

...
I missed so much. With a hand full of work and countless houses to visit all I wanted to do is complete the work assignments and get home. :sad:


I'm sorry- but this just sounds like a very busy Santa Claus!
:grin: :santa:
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