Decorations at TR Inaugural Site in Buffalo use ‘bells’ & ‘belles’

East Aurora NY Garden Club
East Aurora Garden Club

Members of Buffalo-area garden clubs had to be creative when planning holiday decorations for the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site, 641 Delaware Ave., between North and Allen Streets, Buffalo.

East Park Garden Club in Buffalo NY area
East Park Garden Club

The theme this year incorporated “bells” and “belles.” To make things even more interesting, the theme colors were silver, burgundy and pink.

Yes, pink.

Pink showed up quite a lot in Christmas decorations around the turn of the last century, explained Lenora M. Henson, curator at the national historical site where Theodore Roosevelt took the presidential oath of office in 1901.

Buffalo newspapers of the time carried accounts of the splendid parties thrown by Buffalo’s high society, and pink roses were mentioned frequently. Burgundy was also a popular Victorian color.

Kenmore NY Garden Club preparing for party
Kenmore Garden Club

While you may not think of pink and burgundy as Christmas colors, the decorations that were created by clubs from the Eighth District Federated Garden Clubs of New York State look quite traditional.

The first photo is a close-up of a Christmas tree decorated by the East Aurora Garden Club. The belle at right is dressed in pink, while a burgundy ribbon provides a lovely backdrop. Silver-colored dried plant material adds glitter.

To the left  in the first photo is a Victorian image. Henson was delighted that several of the clubs used period artwork in their decorations.  The fan is a Victorian motif that you will notice in many of the decorations as well.

gloves by Orchard Park NY Garden Club
Orchard Park Garden Club

In the photo above left, you can see that the East Park Garden Club freely used pink in all of its decorations. Many soft pink flowers were used in the swag over the fireplace. Since the fireplace is no longer used to heat the room, a sleigh filled with pink gift boxes fills the space. The club also used wreaths in its decorations, and accented them with large bows in a light pink.

In the photo above right, the Kenmore Garden Club used pink in the table decorations to carry out the color theme. Fans were used as decorations on the table and tree. The tree was also decorated with tussy mussies and Victorian pictures.

At left, ladies’ party gloves add a unique touch to swags of fresh evergreens created by the members of the Orchard Park Garden Club.  The gloves are filled with flowers and tied with pink ribbon. (For your own home, colorful mittens and knit gloves could be used to brighten up a swag. That would be an interesting way to use gloves that have no match.)

Hamburg NY Garden Club
Hamburg Garden Club

At right, the Hamburg Garden Club played with the “bells and belles” theme. A curio cabinet displays small bells, while dolls attired in period costume flank the centerpiece. The clothing and arrangement use burgundy and pink.

Below left, silver bells accent the wine-red wreath created by the Bowmansville Garden Club. What makes the wreath unique is that it is made of feathers.

Bowmansville NY Garden Club
Bowmansville Garden Club

Three clubs decorated the front porch area: Amherst Garden Club, Forest Stream Garden Club and Town & Country Garden Club. If you park in the back, make sure you take a walk around to the front to enjoy the decorations as well as the splendid architecture of the mansion. You can get a glimpse in the photo below right.

When you tour the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site, you’ll also see dress forms with period gowns from the site’s costume collection.

Special events, including luncheons, dinners and evening events,  continue this week during the Victorian Christmas celebration at the TR Inaugural Site.

The decorations will be up through Friday, Dec. 30.  Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. General admission is $5 per person.

porch decoration at Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site in Buffalo NY
Amherst Garden Club, Forest Stream Garden Club and Town & Country Garden Club

A shuttle van will run from the Holiday Inn parking lot (620 Delaware Ave.) to the Inaugural Site from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 9. Note that this service is not available in the evenings, on Saturdays, or on Friday, Dec. 16.

Next week we’ll show you more of the period decorations and share some of the historical information that the garden clubs used in creating their decorations.

Check out last year’s decorations:

Themes help gardeners coordinate decorations

Garden clubs re-create turn-of-century Christmas at Roosevelt Inaugural Site

2 Comments on “Decorations at TR Inaugural Site in Buffalo use ‘bells’ & ‘belles’

  1. I’m glad you saw the exhibit in person. I didn’t include any photos of the gowns, and they are so lovely. It made me wish we wore dresses like that now– until I thought about how uncomfortable they were!

    Thanks for your comment!

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