Sunday, December 21, 2014

Christmas time at Brumby Hall

Last October 2014 we visited the Archibald Smith Plantation in Roswell, Georgia, built in 1843.  I wrote a post about it - click here to see it again.  In one of the rooms was exposed an old trunk which had been found in the attic in 1987.  Inside the trunk were the personal possessions of William Smith (1834-1865,)  called Willie, and his letters.  These letters and other family letters were gathered and published in a book entitled "The Death of a Confederate" edited by Arthur and James Skinner.

I found the book, second-hand, and started to read it.  In the preface I read that Willie's brother, Archie (1844-1923) had attended the "Georgia Military Institute" in Marietta, Georgia.

I had vaguely heard about this institute before but was not sure where it had been located.  I found out that classes started there in 1851.  The institute was acquired by the State of Georgia in 1858.  Townspeople were proud of this institute, the first collegiate level of higher learning in northwest Georgia.  They came to watch daily drills and dress parades.  By 1861 there were 150 Cadets there who later left for active duty in the Confederate Army.  During the Atlanta Campaign of the Civil War, the Federal Forces of General Sherman occupied the institute and on November 13, 1864, when they departed, they burnt the buildings down.  The house of the first superintendent of the institute, Colonel Arnoldus V. Brumby, a West Point graduate, was spared.

In 1915 a private country club, with a golf course, was established on the site of the former institute but moved years later.  It became a civic center then was purchased by the Hilton Corporation and turned into the Hilton Conference Center and Resort.  Pictures below courtesy of the Hilton.

But what had happened to the superintendent house which had been saved?  I called the Hilton and was told that the house located on their property, was owned by the city of Marietta and leased to the Hilton.  They use it now for special events and weddings.  I asked if I could take a tour of the house and was told that someone would call me back.  A gentleman called me in the evening and said that if I wished to visit the house, I needed to be there the next morning at 10 am, the only time the house would be available for viewing.  The next morning, Thursday December 11, 2014, my husband and I drove to the Hilton.  The facility cannot be seen from the street.  We drove around the parking lot but could not find the house.  Finally we saw a gate with an historical marker in front of it.  (Please click on photo to enlarge.)

At the end of the footpath was the house.  I realized then that I had been driving in front of this house for decades on my way home from work but had never known it was there as it cannot be seen behind the trees.

We were early, it was only 9:45 am, and the house was partially in the shade.  It was a bright, warm and sunny morning.  We stepped up to the porch and waited in one of the rocking chairs.

At 10 o'clock a gentleman appeared.  He greeted us and opened the front door.  He was Mr. L., a volunteer from the "Friends of Brumby Hall."  He gave us a brief history of the house.  I tried to take pictures with my Nikons while he talked.  I did not use the flash so some pictures are a bit dark and some are not too clear.  He told us that Brumby Hall, as it is now called, is a prime example of a Greek revival cottage.  It has five rooms and a solarium.  Each room is furnished with antiques and period furniture, mostly in the Victorian but also the Eastlake styles.  There are gardens behind the property - a rose garden, boxwood garden, topiary garden, and the Knot garden.  We will come back in the spring when flowers are in bloom.  This lovely house was built adjacent to the military institute for Colonel Arnoldus VanderHorst Brumby and his family.  Colonel Brumby was a West Point graduate and directed the institute, from 1851 to 1859, in the same manner as West Point.  The house was used as a hospital by Sherman's troops during the Civil War.  In the front hall is a portrait of Colonel Brumby.  The portrait of his wife, Ann Eliza Wallis Brumby, is in one of the parlors.  After the Civil War the house fell in disrepair, as you can see form the photographs below, but new owners restored the house to its former splendor.

Mr. L. is a volunteer member of the Friends of Brumby Hall, a group who furnished the house and maintains it as an event facility in conjunction with the Hilton Conference Center.  They also decorate this historic house at Christmas time.  We walked into the main parlor containing a Chickering square grand piano and enjoyed looking at the pretty Christmas decorations.

Then we saw the lovely ladies' parlor with sofas and armchairs covered in pink fabric.  I admired the grand chimney and mirror.

The small dining/tea room in the back had beautiful furniture and another Christmas tree.

There were so many antiques to see but Mr. L. was walking away and it was difficult to keep up and take pictures.  I took as many as I could, quickly.  Over one of the mantels was a period painting of the Georgia Military Institute.  Please click on the collage, twice, to see the photos better.

The large dining room was set up for a dinner that evening.  Mr. L.  told us that at Christmas time, families or groups will reserve this room for a period dinner with many courses, starting with oysters flown in from Savannah, Georgia - the same type of menu that would have been served in Brumby Hall in the mid 1850s.  That evening a family, with members coming from a variety of US states, was going to gather here for their Christmas dinner - an event they shared every year.  Mr. L. told us that the house had many such dinners booked during the month of December.  He told us to notice that the pineapple, symbol of hospitality, was well represented on the table such as on the stems of the crystal goblets, the bottom of the name card holders and the brass centerpieces.

We walked upstairs to look at the bedrooms.  Again there was so much to see.

The front bedroom is large.  A tall Christmas tree was decorated with hand crocheted ornaments and cotton balls.  I took a photo of Mr. L. in front of the tree.  It turned out that he had taught the children of my late best friend, Colonel Daniel.

The children's beds were decorated with dolls and toys.  One of the beds is an original 18th century portable crib.

The back bedroom has been converted into a "bride's room."  It is the room where brides can get ready or can rest when the house is booked for a wedding.  The furniture is covered in a restful blue color.

I tried to take pictures of as many of the Christmas decorations as I could, like the 3 French hens, and the beautiful hall chandelier.

Then it was time to go.  We took a last look at the house.  It was past high noon now and the house was in the sun.  We walked to the back of the house to see the gardens, but of course they would look much nicer in the spring.

Listening to the menu served in the house gave us an appetite.  It was lunch time so we drove to the Marietta Diner and had a gyro.  My husband could not resist having a slice of one of their delicious cakes - he chose a chocolate cake.  I took a bite, but it was too sweet for me.  I would prefer a piece of Belgian dark chocolate!

 I hope to receive, hopefully, some good dark chocolates for Christmas.  In France groceries and supermarkets are full of large and beautiful boxes of chocolate at this time.  Adults do not give too many gifts at Christmas, apart from toys to children, but a box of chocolate is offered usually to family, friends and colleagues for the New Year.  I wish you all a happy holiday season - a Merry Christmas, if you celebrate it,

and a Happy Hanukkah, if you celebrate it, too.

Here is a beautiful Tree of Life from my friend Valerie-Jael who shows stunning photographs and her art work on her blog Bastlemania.

Be happy and enjoy yourself during these celebrations!


33 comments:

Elephant's Child said...

Thank you. Your posts are always informative and beautiful, and this is no exception.
Happy holidays to you too - and I hope you do receive your dark chocolate.

Kay said...

I love that they've preserved this beautiful historical place. Thank you for sharing it with us. Your photos were terrific.

Valerie-Jael said...

Great post! Love the photos of the place you visited, looks so beautiful. Thanks for including my collage. Happy Christmas to you and yours, Valerie

Marja said...

Oh I loved going through that lovely house with you. How great they made it come alive with all that furniture and now dressing it up for Christmas. I didn't know that a pineapple was a symbol for hospitality.
Great artwork from your friend and mmm don't talk about Belgian chocolates In the past when we came in Antwerpen or Brussels we always went to Leonidas
Have a great Christmas vagebonde

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Vagabonde .. what an amazing set of photos together with the information .. lots to dwell on - and no wonder you enjoy your visits there ...

Lovely that you were able to go on the tour .. and see so much - thanks for sharing all with us -

Happy Christmas and New Year - Hilary

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

How delightful to find a gem that for years you had passed by without knowing its existence. It is a lovely home and what is especially nice is that it is open to the public for family and friends to enjoy.

Have a joyful holiday and I hope you receive some delicious chocolates.

Thérèse said...

Toujours aussi interessant de vous lire et d'observer vos collections de photos!
Quels beaux details y compris l'arbre de vie de votre amie.
Il est vrai que les magasins sont remplis de chocolats a en perdre la tete et vider son porte-monnaie. Pourtant personellement nous choisissons de toujours choisir du bon chocolat noir en tablettes...
Passez un merveilleux Noel et de belles fetes de fin d'annee Vagabonde! Des voeux a partager bien sur.

rhymeswithplague said...

Thank you for the gorgeous photographs of the Conference Center and of Brumby Hall, inside and out. The Brumby family is very well known in Marietta. I believe they owned the Brumby Rocking Chair company for more than a hundred years, and Mr. Otis Brumby was the publisher of the Marietta Daily Journal newspaper for a very long time. Marietta was our mailing address for more than twenty-five years, although our first house was actually in East Cobb and our second house was in West Cobb. My daughter-in-law's parents live in what is called "Old Marietta" (near the original Marietta Country Club) and her grandmother was for several years principal of an elementary school in Marietta. I would like to see you do a post on the National and Confederate cemeteries sometime.

DJan said...

Oh, VB, this is a wonderful Christmas post! I am glad you explained the pineapples, which caught my eye in the first picture and I wondered about them. What a fine place it is! And I too wish you and yours all the very best for the holidays and beyond. Blessings from the Pacific Northwest to the elegant South. :-)

Nadege said...

Few lived really well in the 1800's. Lovely plantation!
Happy holidays to you and your followers!

David said...

Vagabonde, Thanks for the history lesson and all the great photos inside that historic house. Your interior photos are so much better than mine...especially when there is light through windows. There was a military academy near us, in Sweetwater TN. Later it became a school for Japanese expatriots's children. It's been closed for years now and its ownership is in legal dispute. (No beautiful old homes though)

Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas! Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Nadezda said...

Hi Vagabonde,
you wrote very informative post, I've read it with great interest. I love all these decoration - as trees, dolls, toys, wreaths, candles.
I wish you a Merry Christmas and happy New year!

rosaria williams said...

Happy Holidays, dear Vagabonde. Your posts are a marvel of research and sheer beauty in its presentations. May the new year bring you joy and good health to you and yours.

Magic Love Crow said...

Merry Christmas and here's to a great 2015 ;o) Gorgeous post my friend ;o) I really enjoyed your pictures! Truly beautiful ;o)

Jono said...

Nicely done! Thanks for the tour and the history lesson, also. The pictures are lovely and you did a fine job even without a flash. It takes a very steady hand.
Happy holidays to you!

Frances said...

Vagabonde, it was lots of fun to see this post, and to imaginemyself walking through those historic room with you and your husband.

(I do think that the house is decorated in a mix of authentic historic details that duels a bit with contemporary style. Lucky that you and yours were able to have this private tour.)

Best wishes to you and your husband for a very Happy Christmas...and thanks for your card.

xo

ELFI said...

une déco de noël somptueuse!
des photos de mariage avec des traines comme des lacs..
de belles fêtes et une bonne nouvelle année!!!

sonia a. mascaro said...

What a great and beautiful post! Visiting you is always a nice pleasure.
Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Wonderful New Year!

Vicki Lane said...

What a beautiful house! The folks who maintain it have done a wonderful job. Thank you for seeking it out and sharing it with us.

I will be waiting to see what you have for us in 2015!

All the best to you and yours, dear Vagabonde!

claude said...

Quel magnifique domaine ! Tant extérieurement qu'intérieurement.
Une visite qui m'aurait bien plu.
Je souhaite à toi et à ta famille une excellente année 2015.
Bises

Glenda Beall said...

As usual, your blog post is beautiful, very interesting and filled with history. I go to Roswell all the time and now I want to see this house. You are a PR person for the area. Hope your new year brings you happiness and good health.

joared said...

Happy New Year! Thank you for a lovely tour -- fascinating history.

bayou said...

Dear Vagabonde, beautiful pictures of Brumby Hall and I love to look at all the details of the furniture and the cute decorations, especially in this festive time. Your postcards are always so nice to look at - I have a huge collection now, mainly Belgian and French, mostly over 100 years old, all very romantic. Have a wonderful New Year,looking forward to your posts in 2015!

Peter Olson said...

Several bravos are needed here, of course for this fantastic and informative post, but also to Mr. L and all people who have contributed to save this place and make it look so beautiful !
All the best for 2015!!

ツ ✽ ღ Nancy ღ ✽ ツ said...

(^‿^)✿

Coucou et MERCI pour ta visite et tes mots déposés sur mon petit blog chère Vagabonde !

Je suis heureuse de voir cette jolie publication !
QUE C'EST BEAU !
Quel raffinement !
Je suis admirative ! Oui ! Vraiment !

GROS BISOUS d'ASIE vers toi

et bonne année 2015 Vagabonde ツ !!!!

Al said...

What a great place to find and see!

Reader Wil said...

Mercy pour votre visite et commentaire!Mercy de votre post aussi. Quel bâtiment intéressant. J'ai appris beaucoup de
l'histoire de cette maison.
Je vous souhaite une bonne année et bonne santé!
Wil, ABCW Team.

Jennifer A. Jilks said...

I love those old postcards you find!
(ツ) from Cottage Country Ontario , ON, Canada!

Miss_Yves said...

Tout cela semble très beau, je regarderai et en détail ce soir.
Merci de votre visite sur mon blog et de votre message de soutien .

Retired English Teacher said...

As always, you have given us a gift. What a wonderful day this must have been for you. The photos were beautifully arranged.

I hope your new year is off to a great start.

Jeanie said...

Hello, dear VB and happy new year! I have been behind and am catching up with your posts. Of course, you must have guessed that I would just love this one, with that beautiful holiday decoration! Off to look at a few more bUT I hope all is well with you and that you had wonderful holidays.

Cergie said...

Une salle à manger cossue sur l'image de dessus, avec une tale de la taille exacte de celle que nous avons eu à Noël à certains repas (certains ont pu se passer en extérieur tant il faisait beau dans le Var). Il s'est trouvé deux fois où nous avons été treize à table, nos hôtes étant très superstitieux, je m'étais glissée au coin du plateau de table.
De magnifiques décorations de Noël ! Que de soin apporté pour enluminer ces moments !
La dernière image est magnifique, si chaleureuse malgré la brume.

Une question : la fête de Hanouka est elle fêtée par tous aux Etats Unis ou uniquement par les personnes de confession juive ?

Cergie said...

J'ajoute que j'aime bcp les anans utilisés en déco. Chez moi où ce n'est pas grand j'ai deux petits potirons, l'un un peu cérusé, l'autre est une courge "Jack Be Little" (cucurbita pepo). Je compte la mettre dans le jardin au printemps pour essayer d'en obtenir des plants

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