Thursday, December 3, 2015

Winter's Fest Eve at the Bond-Hawley House

The Bond-Hawley House on 143 Ontario Street in Lockport
is the oldest brick home in Lockport and is also one of the first brick homes built in Niagara County. It was built by Colonel William Bond between 1823 and 1824 and later owned by his brother-in-law Jesse Hawley. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was built using the Federal Style and is primarily furnished in the l820's Empire  period style.

The Niagara County Historical Society opened the house to the public on the evening of Thursday, December 4th for Winter's Eve Fest.

I arrived to the beautiful sound of a drummer.  A young man named Connor was drumming on the front steps of the house.
He and his grandmother, Karen, greeted us and asked us to sign the guest book.
 Karen explained that she was dressed for the Christmas Eve ball which would be enjoyed by their friends and family. We picked up booklets printed up for this occasion. The booklet has sections about each room and tells the stories of what Christmas may have been like in this house in an early canal-era family home.

 My friend and I did a self guided tour. Each room on all three floors of the house was decorated for Christmas.
Docents offered guided tours for those who were interested in doing that. I listened to parts of the talks and descriptions given by the docents and I was impressed with their enthusiasm as well as their knowledge. My friend and I walked through all the rooms, enjoying the antiques, the trees and the holiday decorations
. We did a lot of pointing and exclaiming as we saw various antique items and furnishings.

The nineteenth century holiday spirit was evident all through the house. Seasonal music was offered in the elegant downstairs dining room by brother and sister team Lucas Herman and Sheryl Bates.
In the kitchen, cookies and hot cider were offered.

I learned that feather trees were popular in Victorian times. Candles were one of the first widely used
Christmas tree decorations but could only be lit for a few minutes at a time while the family stood nearby with buckets of water or sand in case of fire. In the 1830's and 1840's seashell collecting was a popular hobby and often the shells were made into Christmas ornaments.

It was an enjoyable evening full of both historical facts and pleasure. If you were unable to go to this event, the Bond-Hawley House holiday exhibit will be open from 1 to 4 p.m. on the following Saturdays: December 5th, 12th and l9th. If you go, you won't be disappointed.


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