Decorations from Days Past Martin Mitchell House Captures the Look of Christmas from a Century Ago

By Donovan, Deborah | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), December 19, 2003 | Go to article overview

Decorations from Days Past Martin Mitchell House Captures the Look of Christmas from a Century Ago


Donovan, Deborah, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Deborah Donovan Daily Herald Homes Writer

A tree of ice, also called a white tree, stands in the bay window of the family parlor - a strong symbol of the early 20th century trend away from elaborate Victorian Christmas trees.

A cloud of silver and gold angel hair and a tinsel gold star made of heavy pipe cleaners crown the top of the 9-foot tree. Other decorations include strings of pearls and gold beads and cotton batting teased and sprayed with adhesive then sprinkled with mica and something called diamond dust.

Crafting holiday decorations for the meticulously refurbished Martin Mitchell mansion at the Naper Settlement is a challenge custom-made for members of the Naperville Garden Club.

"Trees had gotten very elaborate with all different kinds of ornaments," said Bonnie Bula, chairwoman of the garden club committee in charge of the mansion.

"The style switched to choosing a theme. This tree is primarily silver and white, one of the options in 1903. Gradually in a few years people added everything again."

Christmas a century ago was selected as the target date for the recently restored home. Some $2.8 million returned the house to the style from the 1890s to 1907.

The home with its Christmas decorations will be part of the settlement's Christmas Memories today through Dec. 21.

The mansion was built in 1883 by George Martin, a tile and brick manufacturer. After his death a few years later, it remained home to his wife and daughters, including Caroline, who was joined in the residence by her husband, Edward Mitchell.

Caroline Martin Mitchell died in 1936, leaving the house and grounds to the city of Naperville. Years later it became home to the historic Naper Settlement.

The tree and other Christmas decorations were based on research that the settlement provided Bula, including articles from magazines such as Ladies Home Journal, from the era.

On a white tree, decorations include silvered artificial Spanish moss, glass icicles and ones made of tinsel that can be stretched. White balls, silver leaves and white-flocked pine cones were also added to the tree.

In some homes, presents might have been added under the tree, but there were no children in this family, Bula said.

One of the more unusual touches was hanging fish net on the side of the staircase to display roses, hydrangeas, gilded pine cones, red ribbon and a variety of green branches like pine, magnolia and palm.

"They would have had bunches of greens as an alternative to a tree, hung in a swag of fish net in the corner," Bula said.

Formal rooms have a deep frieze or border near the ceiling. In the hallway, the design with gold is shaped almost like a stylized basket of flowers. The classic mantel of rosy marble and alabaster in the formal parlor is lavishly decorated with red and white roses, sugared fruit, holly, heavy green ribbon and even a bird's nest. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Decorations from Days Past Martin Mitchell House Captures the Look of Christmas from a Century Ago
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.