ORIGINALLY WRITTEN CYNTHIA MARTENS
The Hillsboro Christmas season will kick off in traditional fashion with the Schaeffler House Open House from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 1, at 312 E. Grand in Hillsboro.
The event attempt to bring back to life the Christmas magic from the early 1900s, according to organizers. Visitors will be able to stroll through the house decorated in turn-of-the-century Christmas decorations.
“When you walk in, you’ll feel like you’ve walked back into time,” said volunteer Donna Luna. “It’s pretty neat.”
Built by the William F. Schaeffler family, the historic home features leaded-glass windows, gingerbread fretwork, two mantels, an open staircase in front and a servants’ staircase in back.
The whole house has been redone, said Pat Nuss, coordinator for this year’s open house and a member of the Hillsboro Historical Society Board.
“The museum items that didn’t really belong there-that’s been removed, and it looks more like a home now, ” she said.
Visitors are going to be able to see what the master bedroom and a baby’s room might have looked like when the Schaefflers occupied the home.
New this year will be the opportunity for visitors to take a horse-drawn carriage ride.
And the city-owned Oberlin, a 1930-edition car, will be available for passengers to enjoy a ride in a vintage car.
In the previous six years, open-house visitors were not charged admission but were asked for donations instead.
This year there will be a charge of $3 per person, or tickets may be purchased in advance for $2 each at Hillsboro State Bank. Tickets to enjoy the early modes of transportation will cost $6, which includes admission to the house. Advance tickets for $5 are also available at Hillsboro State Bank.
Profits will go toward the cost of replacing the slate-roof shingles and other maintenance costs, Nuss said.
For those who enjoyed the musical entertainment last year, changes this year promise to delight them again and attract new visitors, Luna said.
“The music this year is going to be totally different than we had in the past,” she said.
Instead of a formal gathering to listen to Christmas cheer, there will be musicians serenading patrons throughout the house.
Luna has scheduled Hillsboro High School choral and band ensembles, led by choral director Dave Clark and band director Gregg Walker. The middle school eighth-grade quartet is scheduled to sing.
Every 20 minutes a different performance will be featured, Nuss said.
Carolers organized by Kelli Just will be entertaining the crowd and greeting people. And Walker has agreed to perform his saxophone virtuosity.
To spread more holiday cheer, Nuss said, peppernuts, wassail and “other goodies” will be available that afternoon.
Last year, about 150 people experienced the Schaeffler-era Christmas. And Nuss and Luna said they expect to see those same numbers this year from Marion and surrounding counties.
For those who want to see the little girl’s room and the rest of the home during the remainder of the month, the home is tentatively scheduled to be open from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 8, 15 and 22, Nuss said.
The charge for those visits will be $3 per person.