BOAZ - A warm fire in the hearth, hot Wassail, homemade fudge, cookies and a picturesque Christmas tree will welcome visitors to Henderson Hall Plantation during the hall's special holiday tours throughout December.
The hall, at 517 River Road, about seven miles north of Parkersburg, will begin offering its special Christmas tours the week after Thanksgiving. This year the tours will also feature displays of never-before-seen documents, artifacts and antiques from Henderson Hall.
"These are special items we've pulled out that have never been on display before, and we think visitors to the hall will find them very interesting," said Dave McKain, director for Henderson Hall.
Photo by Pamela Brust
Historic Henderson Hall Plantation will be open 12:30-4:30 p.m. weekdays and 1-7 p.m., Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays beginning the week after Thanksgiving and running through the month of December.
Beginning the week after Thanksgiving, the hall will offer special holiday weekly tours from 12:30-4:30 p.m. On Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, Henderson Hall will be open for tours from 1-7 p.m.
"There will be lots of good cheer, and music," McKain said.
Tickets for the special seasonal tours are $6 for adults, $4 for children. For more information, call 304-375-2129 or 304-485-5446.
If You Go
* Christmas tours of Henderson Hall are scheduled to begin the week after Thanksgiving and will run through the month of December.
* Tours on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays will be from 1-7 p.m.
* Tours during the week will be offered from 12:30-4:30 p.m.
* The hall has been decorated for the season, there will be refreshments and special displays offered of unusual, never-before-seen items for guests.
* Tickets for the special seasonal tours are $6 for adults, $4 for children. For more information, call 304-375-2129 or 304-485-5446.
Wrapped in history, the Victorian-era Italianate home is one of the few surviving, intact historic homes in the U.S. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the house was completed in 1859 by George Washington Henderson.
The former owner and last Henderson family descendant to reside in Henderson Hall, the late Mike Rolston began offering the Christmas tours around 1989 and now the tradition continues.
The home contains artifacts and historical treasures preserved through more than 200 years of the Henderson clan who rubbed elbows with the likes of George Washington, George Mason, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. From the Scottish family's arrival in the valley from Virginia, to its part in the West Virginia statehood movement, ties with pioneers and patriots to being a key witness in the Burr-Blennerhassett treason turmoil, the Henderson family played key roles in many of the historic events that shaped the Mid-Ohio Valley.
Archibald Henderson was the fifth commandant of the Marine Corps, one of the longest-serving Marine Corps commandants and technically the first American-born commandant.
Thomas Henderson was a well-known military doctor and minister in the Episcopal Church. He wrote the first written manual on medicine for the Department of the Army in 1820-1830, and he, along with Francis Scott Key, started the first Episcopal Church in Georgetown.
Among documents found at the house are local ballots from the Lincoln-Douglas presidential election, diaries, a letter written by Robert E. Lee to Elizabeth Henderson and original land grants signed by then Virginia governor Patrick Henry.
Buildings on the grounds include the first Wood County schoolhouse, the oldest in the state; an 1826 carriage G.W. and his wife took to Niagara Falls when they were married. The plantation was once a major horse boarding and breeding farm, breeding standard trotters sold throughout the country for racing, and the family was part of the oil and gas industry boom. There are three Adena Indian mounds that are 2,000 years old. John James Audubon and John Chapman, the legendary frontier missionary and nurseryman known as Johnny Appleseed, were among the many well-known visitors to the plantation.
Long-term plans have been developed for the hall and include restoration to its turn of the century grandeur inside and out, development of a research library and artist center and plans for Civil War reenactments and other living history and tourist activities on the property.
An observation deck across the road from the hall has been added to afford photo taking opportunities.