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Schumacher Homestead decorated for Christmas Open House

December 3-4 from 2:00-6:00 p.m.

By Paula Scott

The Schumacher Homestead at 8350 Bixel Rd. will be decorated for a free Christmas Open from 2:00-6:00 p.m. on December 3-4. The event is hosted by the Swiss Community Historical Society of Bluffton and Pandora.

Gary Wetherill, SCHS program coordinator, told the Icon that there will be music, food and activities for all ages at the two-day holiday event. Wetherill has memories of Christmas celebrations at the homestead well before the total renovation of the farmhouse began in the early 2000s.

Visitors can explore the farmhouse from top to bottom, in self-tour fashion. Docents in historical Swiss clothing will be on hand to provide answers and insight into the lives of Swiss immigrants who created the local settlement.

In the large parlor/living room, Bluffton High School fiddlers will be playing. In the main kitchen a fire and candles will be lit and holiday treats will be offerred. Upstairs, where the large Schumacher family accommodated parents, grandparents, and some 16 children, there will be a weaving activity and a small gift shop. In the basement, visitors can try their hand at candle-dipping. And even the attic is open to explore.

Next to the farmhouse are the workshop and summer kitchen. The workshop is filled with antique implements and has preserved some hand painted notes from over 100 years ago. In the summer kitchen there will be more treats including doughnuts fried over a wood fire.

The event is free and open to the public. Donations will be gratefully accepted and society memberships are be available for $30/year per household.

The Swiss Community Historical Society oversees the preservation and renovation of the Schumacher Homestead. Its collection includes papers, books, artifacts, and records of historical interest, as well as property related to local Swiss heritage. Objects made and used by local settlers are part of the SCHS collection.

This year the society has made major progress on restoration of the Schumacher bank barn and is preparing to move a historical Swiss barn to the property to serve as a Heritage Center with classroom space, artifact display, offices, and rest rooms.

The society provides programming focused on local history, trains docents who give tours of the homestead, and coordinates volunteer support for maintenance and special events.


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