On December 1st I received an e-mail from the Communications Specialist at Dearborn Historical Museum, inviting me to their annual Victorian Christmas Tea and Open House. It was held this past Saturday, Dec. 6th.
The event took place at the Commandant's Quarters, which was acquired by the city in 1949, and dedicated as Dearborn's first Historical Museum in 1950. Below is the front facade of the building that faces Michigan Avenue.
The attached wall is a replica of the one that surrounded the entire arsenal which had a total of 11 buildings. The handmade bricks are original. The wall was 12 feet high and 2 1/2 feet thick. Among other functions, the arsenal was also used to train Michigan soldiers during the Civil War.
The Commandant's Quarters is listed on the National Register of Historic Places , as well as a Michigan Historic Site . Built in 1833, it's the oldest building in Dearborn on its original site, and the only remaining arsenal building. 19 different commandants and their families occupied the house between 1833-1875.
After the arsenal closed the building became a multiple dwelling for the city. It housed a police station, jail, fire station, courthouse, township hall, school, library, and church, until becoming the historical museum.
The rear entrance is the one that was used on Saturday.
A self-guided tour preceded the tea with men and women mingling in period dress. Below is the large parlor all decked out for Christmas.
Mixing the old [a square grand piano] with the new [an electronic keyboard], because the lady who provided the Christmas music said the piano was lovely to look at, but difficult to keep tuned.
As lovely as the parlor was, the dining room across the hall was my favorite. The décor was shades of blue, with a table setting of blue transferware.
~ Staircase to the second floor bedrooms ~
~ Ladies' Bedroom ~
The original "port-a-potty!"
~ A Guest Bedroom Across the Hall ~
Next to the Guest Bedroom was the Officer's Bedroom. How would you like to take a bath in that tub? No thank you!
While I was in this room a docent came in and asked if I knew the origin of the phrase "sleep tight, and don't let the bed bugs bite?" He proceeded to show and tell me.
In times gone by, mattresses were held on the bed frames with ropes. There was a special wooden tool used to pull the ropes tight, hence "sleep tight."
The mattresses were made with straw from the fields, and bugs were often in the straw, hence "don't let the bed bugs bite." You learn something new everyday!
~ A Child's Room ~
~ Historical Society Volunteer ~
~ Lovely Christmassy Floral Arrangement ~
~ Tables ready and waiting for guests ~
~ Rick Danes, pictured below ~
~ Getting cookies ready to serve ~
~ Pots of tea kept warm under tea cozies ~
Krystal pouring my tea. I joined two lovely ladies for tea. It's nice meeting new tea friends.
Doesn't this plate of cookies look yummy? They were!
~ My plate ~
~ A little bit of historical reenactment ~
Wall display telling how the City of Dearborn got it's name.
It was a lovely afternoon. Thanks for the invitation, Craig!