Have you noticed the white house on Kennett Pike across from Winterthur and just two doors down from the Delaware Museum of Natural History? For many years this house was hiding behind a forest of brush, making it invisible from the road. After a young couple purchased the 1920’s home, it was renovated into a comfortable contemporary living space with historic grandeur.
This newly-unveiled Kennett Pike house is just one stop on the Delaware Art Museum Council’s 2016 Holiday House Tour: Houses with History. Each home has a compelling history, and visitors will have a glimpse into how modern families live in historic sites.
All five homes on this unique tour were built in the early 20th century and offer a peek into a historical era that gave rise to the Brandywine Valley becoming known as “Chateau Country.” From a site where women’s suffrage meetings were held, to a property that was a working dairy farm, and a house designed by Greenville-born architect Jim Thompson, to the venue for the du Pont / Roosevelt bridal party luncheon in 1937, each location has an unusual and intriguing story. Not only will you be able to experience the history of these homes, but they will be decorated for the holiday season.
The House Tour will take place Saturday, December 10, from 10 am to 4 pm. The five Greenville-area houses featured on the tour–all within a short driving distance of the Museum–include the following spectacular homes:
- The estate that inspired the Brandywine Valley moniker “Chateau Country”
- The venue for the du Pont / Roosevelt bridal party luncheon in 1937
- A manor house location for meetings of the National Woman’s Party
- A beautifully restored grand residence first planned as an escape from city summers
- A stately house with the nickname “Mount Vernon”
The Holiday House Tour is a long-time Wilmington tradition that has become a destination event organized by the Museum’s volunteer Museum Council group. A community of several hundred additional volunteers, homeowners, local businesses, and artisans contribute to this 30-year celebration. Proceeds from the Holiday House Tour support the Delaware Art Museum’s education department and initiatives to ensure that local children have an opportunity to experience and experiment with art.
With this rare opportunity to tour extraordinary private homes comes the opportunity to support art education and outreach programs in Wilmington. Your Holiday House Tour ticket also provides admission to the Museum’s Winter Arts Festival on Saturday, December 10 and Sunday, December 11. The Winter Arts Festival features a range of handmade items by 20 regional artisans. Local school and community choirs will perform live, festive music as families roam and participate in holiday-themed art projects. Tours of the galleries will be available throughout the two days to put an artsy spin on your holidays this year, and the Museum’s Thronson Café will serve refreshments by Toscana to keep you warm and toasty during your visit.
In addition to the Holiday House Tour, a limited number of tickets for a holiday luncheon at the Greenville Country Club, a former duPont family home named Owl’s Nest, will be available in advance of tour day.
Tickets are available for purchase at delartholidayhousetour.org, at the front desk in the Museum, and at the following locations by cash or check: Everything But The Kitchen Sink, Janssen’s Market, Minster’s Jeweler’s in Newark, Old Country Gardens, Purple Sage Herbs & Gifts in Middletown & Studio 882 Furniture + Design in Glen Mills. Luncheon tickets are $25 and only available for purchase through the Delaware Art Museum.
Due to the private nature of the homes, they are not wheelchair or walker friendly.