Thursday, December 13, 2012

Christmas at Bulloch Hall with US Presidents - Part 1

I was going to continue writing about our trip to Venice, but yesterday we returned to Bulloch Hall which is decorated for the holidays in December.  To be more in keeping with the Christmas season, I'll share some of the photos I took there.  In December 2010, we had already visited gracious and elegant Bulloch Hall in Roswell, Georgia (a part of the metro Atlanta area.)  The 2010 Holiday theme was "The Symbols and Traditions of Christmas."  I wrote a post on it showing pictures of the house and decorations.  Click here to see this post.  We bought our entrance tickets and walked up to the front door.
There was a panel by the side of the door explaining that this year the Holiday theme was "Christmas in the White House at Bulloch Hall."  Please click on the picture below to read this panel.
Bulloch Hall was completed in 1839 as a home for Major James Stephens Bulloch and his family. In December 1853 Mittie Bulloch married Theodore Roosevelt, Sr. in this house.  Later their second child, Teddy, became President of the United States.  Their third child, Elliott, was the father of Eleanor Roosevelt, the wife of Franklin D.Roosevelt (her father's fifth cousin.)  Bulloch Hall is a Greek Revival mansion listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  I enjoyed walking on the front porch and taking several photos.
Maybe Mittie sat in a similar rocking chair in the front porch waiting for the Christmas guests to arrive.
Inside the home two docents gave us a brochure for the self-guided tour explaining the decor of each room. It gave information on the eleven US presidents represented there.  On this post we'll visit with Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, George Washington., Grover Cleveland and John F. Kennedy.  We will visit the other presidents in my second post - part 2.  The front hall is decorated in a patriotic scheme.


On the walls were campaign poster portraits of several US Presidents
and a patriotic Christmas tree.
From the front hall I could see President Franklin D.Roosevelt sitting by the fireplace with his dog Fala on his lap. (32nd President - 1933-1945.)
As we entered the front Parlor, we saw Eleanor, the wife of the president, standing near the piano.  Was she going to play, go and eat a cookie or sit on the sofa and proceed with her knitting?
The Roosevelt grandchildren will enjoy the Christmas tree in the Parlor with the original 1930s and 40s decorations.
Approaching the dining room we could see President Dwight D. Eisenhower (34th President 1953 to 1961) at attention near the Christmas tree.  (The life size presidents and first ladies were made by local artist Mary Jane Stone and are on loan from the Teaching Museum North.)
First Lady, Mamie Eisenhower, loved the color pink and had the first pink Christmas tree in the White House.  In 1958 she had 27 trees throughout the house.  She also wrapped all the gifts herself. President Eisenhower was an avid golfer.  His sport is represented by bronze statues of golfers on top of a cabinet.
 As we move to the breakfast nook we see an inviting tea and cookies set on the table near the radio.  Are there good news?  What are the headlines?  
The East Liverpool newspaper on the table says "Britain Intervenes - Yanks Blast Japs In Town After Taking Shuri Castle."  So we are back in May 1945 when the US battleship USS Mississippi began shelling Shuri Castle in Okinawa and then burnt it down.  "Rebel Company A" of the 5th Marine Regiment even hoisted a Confederate Battle Ship Flag on the castle site as they said it was the only flag available.  It stayed there for 3 days until removed.  Below is a photo of Shuri Castle taken in 1925 and another photo of the rebuilt castle after the war. (courtesy Wikipedia Commons.)
Now we are going downstairs to the kitchen and first we take a look at the cellar.  
Under the stairs we find a starkly handsome fox.
I guess he escaped the hunt that President George Washington (1st President - 1789-1797) organized this morning with his guests at Mount Vernon.  The President, in front of a bountiful repast, is waiting with First Lady Martha to greet the tired and famished hunters.
There is a large Virginia ham, home baked breads, cheese, fruits and succulent desserts waiting on the pie safe.
The room exudes warmth and companionship.  Near a bright fire many gifts have been placed under the Christmas tree. 
Now we are going upstairs to Mittie's bedroom.  There we meet President Grover Cleveland (22nd and 24th President - 1885-1889 and 1893-1897.)  I remember him well - in 1886 he presided over the dedication of the Statue of Liberty (a gift from the people of France.)
President Cleveland was a bachelor until the second year of his first term and then married Frances Folsom - being the first President to have his wedding at the White House.  At 21 years old, Frances was the youngest First Lady - President Cleveland was 49 years old.  (The White House Historical Association issued an ornament in 2007 in honor of their wedding.)
They had five children.  Frances became the first wife of a President to give birth in the White House.  Another first for the White House was when President Cleveland started using electric lights.  His Christmas tree was decorated with red white and blue lights and a small model of the White house was placed under the tree.  One of his presents to his daughter was a pretty dollhouse.  The Clevelands considered Christmas a children's festival.  Frances Cleveland was a member of a "Christmas Club" that offered gifts to poor children.
Now we pass to the Wing Room where President John F. Kennedy (34th President - 1961-1963) is standing by the fireplace.

Presently First Lady Jacqueline is joining him.


In 1961 she initiated the idea of having a theme for the official Christmas tree at the White House. In 1962 the theme was "The Children's Tree"
We said "goodbye" to Mr. and Mrs. Kennedy as they were waiting for their guests.

As we walked near the Sewing Room we saw Archie Roosevelt, age 8, fifth child of President Theodore Roosevelt.  With the help of the White House staff, he secretly brought a tree into the house with a gift for each member of the family including the dog, the cat and the pony.
Archie had a large amount of "Teddy" bears next to him - they were named in honor of his father, President Theodore Roosevelt.
But we could not stay long to admire them as we had more US Presidents to visit...
More to come in part 2 ...

30 comments:

Arti said...

Again, I've enjoyed your wonderful post, in particular, the photo collages, esp. the first one. Speaking of FDR, you know there's a new movie Hyde Park on Hudson, with Bill Murray playing FDR. From the poster it looks quite interesting. Maybe you'd like to see it.

Pondside said...

What an interesting mansion - so much history of the Roosevelt family and from the various presidents. I look forward to seeing more.

OldLady Of The Hills said...

It amazes me the amount of time and effort and money it must take to decorate this HUGE House, each Christmas....! Personally, I find the "people" kind of strange....Are they three dimensional or are they like Cardboard Cutouts? Or, maybe both!They look a little creepy, to me....lol. (Sorry about that)...It is great fun to see all the different displays and trees, etc...Thank you, my dear, for this fascinating post!

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

What a lovely home Georgian home. I'm so glad you've taken us along today. I had no idea this was in Roswell. What an amazing amount of presidential history.
Sam

DJan said...

What a fine museum that has been created out of that home. I really enjoyed the excursion with you, and the pictures took me right there along with you. There were not many other people visiting, it seems, as I only saw cardboard people in the pictures! :-)

Frances said...

Vagabonde, thank you for taking us on this unique Christmas house tour. I wish that I could actually have been walking through each room with you and your husband...as each presidential tableau appeared.

The blending of patriotism and Christmas is just a bit unsettling to me, xo

Helen said...

Thank you so much for the tour .. photos are wonderful!!! Descriptions of the decor wonderful as well! I can walk to Bulloch Hall from my son's Roswell home ... however, I've never visited during the Holidays for an inside tour.

Perpetua said...

You take us to the most fascinating places, Vagabonde. This non-American has learned a lot from your beautifully-illustrated post.

Fennie said...

Another wonderful post, Vagabonde. I learn so much about the places you visit.

rosaria williams said...

Ah, such a lovely visit! Most enjoyable!
Enjoy your holidays, and see you soon.

Optimistic Existentialist said...

This looks so interesting. I especially loved the Kennedy displays!

David said...

Vagabonde, We're not crazy about visiting Metro areas...too much traffic and too many people. We usually just blow through Atlanta. However, we will have to make an exception re: Bulloch Hall! Beautiful photos and beautiful historic home! Thanks for the travel lead for one of our future trips... Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Miss_Yves said...

Merci pour ces visites inédites!

Angela said...

Very interesting and inviting, though all this Christmas-Patriotism seems strange to me (a foreigner). I think I would have enjoyed the cellar most, looking at the preserves. Your posts are always so full of details and pictures, I feel like going to the movies. Merci beaucoup! Angela

Wasim Ahmed said...
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Ginnie said...

I declare, Vagabonde! The things I have never even heard of where I used to live, let alone seen. You amaze me!

Patricia said...

I thoroughly enjoyed the trip to Bulloch Hall and thanks for sharing it. Thank you so much for your lovely comment on my blog too, it was much appreciated.
Patricia

Retired English Teacher said...

This place is simply amazing. I loved the eras represented by each room. You outdid yourself with this post. There were so many wonderful photos to enjoy, and, as always, your narrative was informative, interesting, and just plain fun to read. Thanks for taking the time to write this wonderful post.

Jeanne said...

Such an enjoyable tour of this amazing place. Thank you so much for sharing. Love your photos and your commentary! hope you have a joyeaux noel!

Kittie Howard said...

Wow, what a fantastic post! You did an amazing job with each era's holiday spirit. So many presidents in one home over the years. We visited FDR's home on the Hudson during Thanksgiving and are looking forward to the movie.

I really enjoyed your comment about speaking French, especially that Haitian French didn't have an accent. I think your family is linguistically gifted. Your father spoke so many languages. Oh, the stories he must have had from the people he met, the little tidbits that come from knowing a language.

Bhavesh Chhatbar said...

That's quite intriguing!

And how are you doing lately? It's been a really long time!

Al said...

What an elegant place, I love it. And so nicely decorated for the holidays.

Vicki Lane said...

What a lot of imagination, not to mention hard work, went into those beautiful displays! Thank you for taking us along!

EG CameraGirl said...

Beautifully decorated!

Wendy Dembeck said...

I was looking for images of the Hawaiian shaka sign for my blog, and picked yours. I never just post an image that isn't mine, so I visited your blog and found myself staying to enjoy your travels vicariously, so I will become a follower. I enjoyed your photos as well as your narrative, and I invite you to look at my blog as well.
I will add your blog to my blogroll. I think my readers will enjoy it.
And, of course, may I use your shaka sign?

Sciarada said...

Ciao Vagabonde, this post has me excited and I'm Italian, I can only imagine what it represents for you Americans!
Best wishes to you and the people you love for a peaceful and joyful Christmas and a prosperous and happy new year!

Olga said...

Thank you for this post! Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas

Kay said...

I can't get over what an amazing place this is. Your photos are absolutely magnificent!

rhymeswithplague said...

I have passed by Bulloch Hall many times but I have never gone in. Your post is an amazingly wonderful presentation of what's there, but I must admit to being the teensiest bit creeped out by the facts that (a) someone decided to put together all this memorabilia just because one president's mother (Theodore Roosevelt's) once lived in the house and (b) all the presidents and their ladies are cardboard cutouts just like Michael Phelps at your friendly neighborhood Subway sandwich shop.

Jeanie said...

I love spots like this that take us to amazing places, but to visit at the holidays when it is so beautifully decorated just makes me swoon! I'm very excited to continue to your next post!

I hope your Christmas was simply beautiful and in every way possible!