Poole Forge holds Christmas at the Ironmasters

An arrangement of dolls on display at Historic Poole Forge.

Robin Buckwalter, administrator of the Historic Pool Forge in Churchtown, PA announced, “This year’s 2012 Christmas celebration will be an expanded version of seasons past. Three floors of the 18th century Ironmaster’s mansion and Paymaster’s ground floor will ignite the imagination and inspire holiday spirit when local charities, civic organizations and businesses decorate holiday trees and settings for display.”

The property was purchased by Caernarvon Township, (Lancaster) in 2005, and opened in 2006 to establish a community park. Their mission is to actively promote restoration and preservation of the property, to provide parks and recreation facilities for the community; and to foster volunteerism, and provide education and appreciation of the area’s heritage and to support uses to help sustain the property.

According to Buckwalter they have a core group of about 40 volunteers and about 200 others that have helped on various projects, such as landscaping, events, the playground, and care of the covered bridge and the Conestoga River that runs through the property.

Vickie Owens, Chairperson of Christmas at the Ironmasters said, “We are thrilled to have over 36 participants this year. We’ve had such an overwhelming response by tree designers from the community that we had to open the third floor of the mansion to showcase all of the displays. There will be something for everyone this year, even boyfriends and husbands can enjoy displays from two local Lancaster County garages.”

On a tour of the property, Owens shared a’ love story’ upon approaching the Covered Bridge, “Years ago when my husband and I were dating he asked me to go for a walk down to the covered bridge. Hand in hand we strolled when he said ‘look what is that in the middle of the bridge?’ We walked over and there were a dozen red roses and a diamond ring and it was there that he proposed.”

The West Tenant House offers homemade holiday refreshments to Christmas Show guests, and Santa will stop by in his antique sleigh on Saturdays starting at 1 p.m. for pictures with the young and the ‘young at heart’. Illuminations take place on Friday nights, when guests stroll the lovely grounds and admire decorations on the 1859 covered bridge, the mansion front porch, and visit the charming holiday gazebo.

Yes, it is a magical time at the mansion! Darling dolls dressed in holiday finery enjoy their sweet tea time with their fancy dishes at their diminutive table by the fireplace.

Owens added, “A good natured competition will be in the air when organizations compete for the coveted “People’s Choice Award”. First, second, and third place winners will be chosen as guests vote for their favorite displays. Please visit www.HistoricPooleForge.org for more information about participating holiday designers.

Christmas at the Ironmasters will be open on Nov. 30 and Dec. 7 from 4-8 p.m. (for illuminated tours), Dec. 1 and 8 from 12-5 p.m., and Dec. 2 and 9 from 12-4 p.m. Tickets are $5 per person, with children 12 years of age and under admitted for free. Tickets are available for purchase for holiday gift giving by calling 484-797-5302. Information is available by email at HPF1940@gmail.com.

A free admission will be given with purchase of their book “Hearth and Heritage Along the Conestoga”. To read more on how you can win a free copy of this book go to http://www.tricountyrecord.com/article/20121119/OPINION03/121119919/in-the-moment--christmas-at-the-ironmaster-s-contest

They are located at 1940 Main Street in Churchtown, on Rt 23, just five miles off the Morgantown exchange of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and three miles east of the Shady Maple complex.

“Our charming 26 acre park is the welcoming ‘Eastern Gateway to Lancaster County’,” Buckwalter said.

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