Please Come Home for Christmas to J.E. Reeves Victorian Home and Carriage House Museum
by Jennifer Kneuss
A visit to the J.E. Reeves Victorian Home and Carriage House Museum at Christmas will be like stepping back in time. The Victorian home was purchased in 1900 by industrialist Jeremiah E. Reeves, who quickly began renovation of the house. Once completed, the farmhouse would include 17 rooms, a remarkable wraparound porch, and an opulent third floor ballroom, all of which are decorated for the holidays and open for the public’s enjoyment.
“Christmas at the Reeves Home is held every year, beginning with walk-through tours from Nov. 11 until Nov. 21, the day before Thanksgiving,” said site director Kim Jurkovic. “Our regular guided tours begin the Friday after Thanksgiving through Dec. 22. We are open everyday throughout that time period from 1-7 p.m.” The guided tours are led by a knowledgeable tour guide staff member and include an introduction to the home, history of the home and information and anecdotes about the Reeves family.
An ever-changing holiday display makes Christmas at the historic home different each year. “What makes Christmas at the Reeves Home truly special is that it is different every year. Some years we have themes and other years it is just beautiful decorations throughout the home with no specific theme.” The theme for 2012 is Please Come Home for Christmas.
Because no two Christmas tours are ever the same, the Reeves Home is a place that can be visited each year with something new to see each time.
“Visiting the Reeves Home has truly become a family tradition for some people. They visit every year as part of their Christmas tradition,” said Jurkovic. “The walk-through tours at the beginning of the season is great for return visitors because they can walk through and see the decorations, without the full historical guided tour.”
Christmas at the Reeves Home offers two special events during the holiday season that invite the public to see the splendor of a Victorian-era home decorated with elegance and style. The Members Only Preview is Nov. 10, the evening before the home is open to the public. “This gives the members of the Dover Historical Society the opportunity to preview the decorations before the general public,” said Jurkovic. The Friday after Thanksgiving is the Community Open House, with discounted admission to all guests.
The Reeves Home lamplight tours are another special holiday treat for visitors to the region. “The last Saturday of the season we feature a lamplight walk-through tour where we light the path to the house with luminaries and turn off all of the overhead lights in the mansion and light the way with just the Christmas lights and electric candles,” said Jurkovic. The lamplight tour allows visitors to imagine how magical the mansion must have looked all those years ago.
Because no one is certain how the Reeves family decorated the home in the early part of the 20th century, today’s decorators use their best judgment when choosing décor that will complement the splendid home and exemplify the season.
While each year there is something new, Jurkovic could only divulge a hint at what visitors can expect. “I can just promise that the decorations will be different than they have ever been,” said Jurkovic.
The Reeves Home contains original furniture and the original wood and gas stoves in the kitchen used by the Reeves family. The original wood kitchen cabinetry was replaced in the 1940s and the current cabinets are replicas.
The J. E. Reeves Victorian Home & Carriage House Museum is located at 325 East Iron Avenue at Dover. For more information, call 330-343-7040 or 800-815-2794.