Ellwood House holds annual tours

By Rebecca Bahr

The elegant and stately Ellwood House Historic Home will present its annual holiday open house set to the theme of “It’s An Old-Fashioned Christmas” Dec. 7 to 9, with a once-a-year candlelight walk to kick-off the season on Friday.

Year after year, holiday revelers return to the Ellwood House, 509 N. First Street, to commence the holiday season.

The mansion once was the home of “barbed-wire baron” Isaac L. Ellwood. At the turn of the century, the Ellwood home was the grandest, most prominent residence in DeKalb county.

Many DeKalb residents say they begin each Christmas holiday with a tour of the mansion because every year the decor is set to a different theme, said volunteer coordinator Donna Gable.

Each room of the four-story mansion will be set aglow with candles, decorated with ornate wreaths, fresh flowers, garland, and ribbons and bows in a traditional style that is in touch with the architecture of the Victorian house.

Craft exhibitors will show and sell their wares in the basement, while the Stage Coach Players, a local drama group, will sing carols in the rotunda and waltz across the dance hall on the second floor. Refreshments will be served and a live band will play all weekend.

Eighteen of the 30 rooms will be decorated, each by a different group, business or individual in the community during the week before the event. Place cards set in the rooms will recognize contributing groups.

Glidden Campus Florists have participated in the Ellwood House holiday festivities for more than 10 years. Store owner Oscar Hansen said his business will spend a full day decorating the library with fresh-cut red roses, baby’s breath, garland and wreaths.

The Christmas Open House is different from the regular 90-minute tour because visitors will be on their own. Guides will be stationed in each room to explain the history of the home as observers wander through.

Ellwood House hours for the holiday open house weekend are Friday, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $3.50 for adults. Children under 12 are admitted free.