Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Candlelight Evening on Delaware Street

Victorian holiday atmosphere and architecture, memorable food and pleasant company will prevail as the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site hosts its annual “A Candlelight Evening on Delaware Street,” a holiday dinner tour of historic mansions on the Old Northside of Indianapolis. It begins at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday (28 December).

To start their evening, guests will be greeted at the Italianate-style Harrison Home, 1230 North Delaware Street, Indianapolis, for a tour of the President’s mansion plus hors d’oeuvres and warm spiced cider. Carolers will welcome guests with holiday songs in the front parlor.

Harrison was the first President to decorate a Christmas tree in the White House. A replica of the first evergreen tree to grace the White House is displayed at the Harrison Home, decorated with wooden soldiers, hand-blown glass figures, candles and cotton batting. Guests to the event will enjoy the home’s decorations featuring Victorian holiday ornaments, including feather trees and Harrison family toys.

Guests will stroll to their second stop of the evening at the Eden-Talbott House, 1336 North Delaware Street, Indianapolis, for a verbal history and tour and a tea bar.

Currently office space for Plews Shadley Racher & Braun LLP, this house was constructed in 1871 as more modest than it appears today. Charlton Eden, a prominent builder and president of the Builders and Manufacturers Association, purchased the property in 1878 and gave it an elegant facade and ornate interior woodwork. The new front portion was built in the Italianate and Second Empire styles. The 800-piece staircase newel post was displayed at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition in 1876. Black walnut was used extensively in the ornate arches and carved lions’ heads throughout the home. Eden’s company had constructed similar woodwork in Harrison’s home three years earlier.

Next, guests will hear a verbal history, tour and enjoy a wine reception at The Propylaeum Club’s Carriage House, 150 East 14th Street, Indianapolis.

This structure was the studio and residence of Elmer Taflinger, a well-known sculptor. Previous to this, it was the home of the Indianapolis Children’s Museum. This structure also has a Georgian doorway with carved glass above the door.

Guests will then move to the main house where they will tour and enjoy a gourmet plated dinner at The Propylaeum Club, 1410 North Delaware Street, Indianapolis. The dinner menu includes vegetable soup, chicken Florentine, harvest rice and carrot soufflé.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1973, The Propylaeum Club’s building displays elements of the Romanesque Revival, Neo-Jacobean, and Queen Anne styles in its architecture. Among some of its interesting features are leaded glass doors, Rookwood fireplace tiles, grand staircase, and intricate Italian carvings.

This home was built in 1890 by John Schmidt, a brewer. The dark color of the brick was produced by pressing water out of the brick when it was made.

The Thomas Taggart House, 1331 North Delaware Street, Indianapolis, is the last stop on the tour and will feature a brief history and tour of the first floor. Guests will also be treated to coffee and a variety of mini cake truffles and gourmet cupcakes for dessert, courtesy of Vanilla Bean Bakery.

Currently, this building is the national headquarters for Delta Sigma Phi fraternity. This is a Colonial Revival house built in 1913 by Thomas Taggart. Taggart was a U.S. Senator, three times mayor of Indianapolis and founded the Indianapolis parks system. Notice the balustrade balconies on the second level above the first floor window.

Reservations are required for “A Candlelight Evening on Delaware Street” and space is limited. Tickets are $75 per person. Call 317:631-1888 or send an email.

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