Volunteers ready Hall House for Christmas tours

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 5, 2012

SALISBURY — Carol Massey has faithfully shown up to the Hall House every December for the past 13 years to help her fellow Master Gardeners decorate a room with fresh greenery grown in Rowan County.
“You become part of this house and this becomes part of your Christmas,” she said.
Massey said she doesn’t adorn her own house quite as extravagantly because she typically travels out of town for the holidays, so she enjoys helping get the historic residence ready for Christmas.
“It’s so wonderful that they allow us to come here and decorate this magnificent house,” she said. “What other city can you go to where you have a home that’s been lived in and so well loved that it’s been preserved and is open to the public?”
The Rowan County Master Gardeners laughed and shared stories Tuesday as they decked out the house’s dining room.
Across the hall, Lynda Errante and Nancy Clement, members of the Historic Salisbury Foundation’s board of trustees, put the finishing touches on the family parlor room, making sure every detail was just right.
In celebration of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens, the Historic Salisbury Foundation has asked volunteers to decorate the house with “A Christmas Carol” theme.
The house, build in 1820 and owned by the foundation since 1972, is a featured stop on the “Scrooge’s Christmas Trolley Tour,” which runs Fridays and Saturdays through Dec. 22.
The tour takes passengers to four historic sites, as Scrooge is visited by visions and ghosts of his past, present and future.
Errante said starting Saturday, the Hall House, at 226 S. Jackson St., will be open from 1 to 4 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday leading up to Christmas.
“Docents will guide them through and they can see the whole house upstairs and downstairs,” she said. “People can expect to find out information about the building and who Dr. Hall was.”
Every room offers a feast for the eyes, with bright decorations and hidden treasures.
“I think one of the greatest things about the holiday season, and what we hope visitors will get from their experience at the Hall House, is the nostalgia that it stirs in us all,” said Brian Davis, executive director of the Historic Salisbury Foundation.  “From stockings filled with fresh fruits and nuts to gingerbread houses to a favorite ornament on a tree, they often spark memories of our childhood and family members.”
Massey said the candlelight tour held from 6 to 8 p.m. is extra special.
“The period costumes, the candles, it just gets you in the Christmas spirit,” she said. “People should just come and appreciate the house and the grounds.”
Clement said the Hall House is beautiful anytime of the year, but it’s an exceptional sight to behold when it’s all decked out for Christmas.
“I think it’s the way you’d like to think of Christmas,” she said. “There are so many things that are reminiscent of childhood and the olden days.”
Christmas tours are free, but donations are welcome to help with the upkeep of the house.
The house will be closed for two months after the final tour on Christmas Eve.
Davis said that time will be used to install the new exhibit “Prisoner in a Foreign Land:  Life and Death in a Confederate Prisoner of War Camp,” which will discuss Dr. Josephus Hall’s connection with the prison.

Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.
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