Camden County Dinosaur

Camden County Historical Society

Yuletide in a Restored 18th-Century Mansion

Photography by Hoag Levins ...| ...Dec. 8, 2003

This is a 2-page feature. See Pages: One | Two |

Pomona Hall Hearth fire
CAMDEN, N.J. -- A blanket of snow set a Christmas card-like scene for the Camden County Historical Society's 2003 Candlelight & Carols Tour at historic Pomona Hall yesterday. Inside, a roaring hearth fire was tended by Hazel Werner (foreground), while Cheryl McClain stirred the first pot of mulled cider being prepared for the day's guests. Also see larger photo.

Window Osage oranges
In one corner of the mansion's huge kitchen, gingerbread cookies were hung as window ornaments. Elsewhere in the working spaces, Osage oranges, cranberries and holly were used in holiday arrangements. Named for one of the native tribes that used the tree wood to make bows, Osage oranges served as both a decoration and an insect repellant in 18th-century America. Also see larger photo.

Charla Lewis Madrigal singers
Charla Lewis, a docent and the Society's educational coordinator (above, left), prepared the formal dining room for the tour. Upstairs in the Victorian parlor, madrigal singers performed throughout the day, filling the mansion with the sound of traditional carols. Also see larger photo.

Formal Parlor Night garb
Docent Sandra Forney set the table for Christmas tea in the formal parlor. Later, in the same room, Victor McClain, dressed for the night as an 18th-century gentleman, performed a reading of Clement Clarke Moore's "A Visit from St. Nicholas,"for younger guests. The children instantly recognized the classic poem that begins, "'Twas the night before Christmas." Also see larger photo.

Peake Cakes Coffee beans
The air of an authentic 18th-century holiday feast was heightened by the wide array of faux foods the Society has added to Pomona Hall during the last two years. The presentation tray (above, left) includes criss-crossed faux "Peale Cakes," popular tea cakes of the era documented in the still life paintings of Raphaelle Peale. Back in the kitchen, Hazel Werner demonstrated open hearth cooking techniques for visitors, including this coffee bean roaster. Also see larger photo.

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