Celebrate traditions passed down by the ghosts of Christmases Past…

December 2019

Depending on your age, 1950 might qualify as an old fashioned Christmas to you. For others, it could be the 1930’s…or for those centenarians who turned 100 this year, 1919 would have marked your first Christmas.

But in the 17th and 18th Centuries, our nation’s earliest substantial influx of new settlers was a diverse group, bringing a host of holiday beliefs and traditions with them. In 1776 America celebrated its first official ‘National’ Christmas…and the earliest ‘Christmas tree’ was brought to this country in the pages of children’s books, before being officially brought to life, in the 1830s. (However, German settlers had been displaying trees since the 1700’s.)

To honor those who came before us, several Delco Historical Societies are offering Holiday Tours & Treats at several historic sites. So bring the family and experience the traditions, foods, toys and games of Delco’s earliest residents.

The Grange Estate has planned a month-long Christmas celebration with House Tours, an amazing Train Exhibit, plus a spirited Christmas Party on Sunday, December 8th.

Nestled on a hillside above Cobbs Creek , the Grange Estate is composed of the mansion, first inhabited in the early 1700’s, and numerous outbuildings – including the carriage house, two springhouses, “necessary,” long barn, tenant house, charming ruins and other dependencies. Adjacent to the site is the converted dairy barn that is now St. James Church. There are also beautiful gardens and woodlands with historic and state champion trees.

When you arrive at the Grange, you’ll leave the modern pace behind and experience memories of Christmases past, with a pronounced Victorian sensibility. The Grange Mansion is decorated throughout with 13 themed trees, one in in every room, adorned with nostalgic ornaments, copious greenery and a nod to the mid-century.

  • There are trees by Chad and Francine Brooks, and don’t miss their extensive Santa Claus collection.
  • Discover many one-of-a-kind Santas, a number of which are animated.
  • There is also a tree decorated with heritage ornaments made from Christmases at the Grange over the years.
  • Plus their Gift Shoppe will be filled with unique hand-crafted items made locally.
  • The Carriage House of the Grange Estate is transformed into the Cobbs Creek Lines Holiday Railroad, a magical land of Lionel and O Gauge trains. Viewers of all ages delight in the immersive, fun-filled and fantastic display of trains. Each year a dedicated group of volunteers assembles to enhance the train display, and each year’s visit brings something new to enjoy!
  • Tours of the Mansion are 1-4 pm and admission is $5 for adults and $1 for children ages 5 through 12.

The 12th Annual Grange Estate Holiday Celebration:

  • Sunday, December 1, 1 PM – 4 PM – House Tours and Trains
  • Saturday, December 7, 9 AM-Noon Photo with Trains. Free but donations are welcome.
  • Saturday, December 7, 1 PM – 4 PM – House Tours and Trains
  • Saturday, December 7 – Flute Choir, 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM – Concert included in mansion tour admission fee.
  • Sunday, December 8 – No mansion tours. Trains are open.
  • Sunday, December 8 – Chrismas Party, 4 PM – 6 PM. $35 per person, $60 per couple. Refreshments and hors d’oeuvres are plentiful at this annual and very popular historical society fundraiser. For ticket information or questions call 610-449-1571 or email terridesign88@yahoo.com
  • Saturdays and Sundays, December 14/15, 21/22, 28/29, 1 PM to 4 PM – House Tours and Trains
  • Monday, December 23, 6 PM to 8 PM – House Tours and Trains

Visiting the Train layout is free. Mansion Tours are $5.

The Swedish Cabin on Creek Road in Drexel Hill has their annual Trim-A-Swedish Christmas Tree event on Sunday, December 1st

The Swedish Cabin is an historic Swedish-style log cabin on Creek Road in Drexel Hill, along Darby Creek. Considered to be one of the oldest log cabins in the United States, it was likely built sometime between 1638 and 1650 by Swedish immigrants who were part of the New Sweden colony.

Friends of the Swedish Cabin, a non-profit group created to conduct educational programs on history and natural science subjects, maintains this historic property and invites one and all to join them in celebrating the season ‘Swedish Style’ with delicious Swedish holiday food from their Julbord, beverages, decorations, and spirited Swedish Christmas music.

  • Pitch in and help them decorate the Christmas tree, Julgran, with apples, heart baskets and straw ornaments. Tour the cabin and warm yourself by a roaring fire.
  • And shop for gifts at their Butiken, too!

Admission to the this event is free, so launch your Christmas Season by stepping back in time at the Swedish Cabin located at 9 Creek Road, Drexel Hill, PA 19026. The hours are 2 to 4pm, and for more information call 484 540 5070.

Join the Chaddsford Historical Society for the 34th Annual ‘Candlelight Christmas’ Saturday, December 7th from 1 to 6pm

Discover your Christmas spirit by visiting several historic houses, all of them decorated in greenery and holiday attire! Experience the culinary history of Colonial America, sampling beverages along with sweet and savory foods from original 18th century recipes. Tours include the John Chads House and Springhouse, Barns-Brinton House, and other activities at The Barn Visitors Center, 1736 Creek Road, Chadds Ford, PA 19317. The Barns-Brinton House is located at 630 Baltimore Pike, Chadds Ford, PA 19317

Purchase tickets online by Dec 1st for $15pp – or at the door, for $20pp

The Newtown Square Historical Society hosts a free Holiday Open House December 7th & 14th at the Historic Square Tavern, from 1 to 5pm.

The Square Tavern, (also known as the John West House, The Square, and Newtown Square Tavern), is a historic in many ways. The original section was completed in 1742, and is a 2 1/2-story, rectangular gable roofed brick building, measuring 32 feet wide and 28 feet deep.

It is also considered one of the most important extant buildings in the township because of its association with the internationally famous artist, Benjamin West. The artist’s father, John West, was innkeeper and lived there with his family intermittently between 1744 and 1758.

Each Christmas the Newtown Square Historical Society ushers visitors back to a day when the building was in its prime. It is fully decorated for the season, and they also pay tribute to the building’s former ‘artist in residence’ by providing an Art Show, as well as lavish refreshments, great music, and costumed tour guides who will discuss the history of West and the tavern building.

  • Selected works of Benjamin West are on display in the West Gallery.
  • And in keeping with the Tavern’s artistic spirit, an art gallery has been installed on the second floor.
  • Various local artists will be displaying and selling their art in varied media from paintings, to photography, to pottery and more.

Read more about the Square Tavern, located at Rt. 252 and Goshen Road, Newtown Square.