The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

November 30, 2012

Step into a Christmas past at Wildwood House Museum

“How I miss that

Old Fashioned Christmas!

Carols being sung by the tree,

Window’s candlelight shining bright for the whole world to see”

If you find yourself singing those lyrics in the midst of our modern holiday hustle and bustle, then let yourself step back into a more serene Christmas for a few hours at Beckley’s Wildwood House Museum.

Christmas at Wildwood will take place Dec. 9 from 1 to 4 p.m., as the home of the city’s founder, Gen. Alfred Beckley, will be filled with fresh greenery, cookies and mulled cider, and the sounds of Victorian carolers.

Last year, the Wildwood Advisory Council coordinated Christmas at Wildwood and the event was a huge success with visitors. During the past year, some 500 guests have toured the museum, and events have included the annual Founder’s Day celebration, as well as a display of vintage bridal gowns.

For Christmas at Wildwood, area garden clubs are again creating and donating fresh arrangements, and carolers, featuring professional singers from Theatre West Virginia, will fill the house with the sweet sounds of Christmas classics.

This year, in addition to the classic decorations and music, miniature quilts will be on display, handcrafted by Sophia resident Joyce Cook. A member of Hands All Around Quilt Club and an active member of the Appalachian Treasures Quilt Show Committee, Cook has won numerous awards for her entries in many quilting categories, but her favorites are miniatures.

Since its construction in 1835, Wildwood House has played host to many Christmas celebrations involving the Beckley family and others who occupied the home. Gen. Beckley and his family occupied the house until the 1901 death of his second wife.

Brought back into the possession of the Beckley family in the 1960s through the efforts of Beckley’s great-granddaughter Lucille “Teelie” Ralsten, the house was restored to the appearance of the 1860s and opened as a museum operated by the Raleigh County Historical Society in 1987.

Wildwood was deeded to the city in 1993 and is operated by the Youth Museum of Southern West Virginia.

Admission is free during Christmas at Wildwood, and visitors can tour the museum and learn the unique history of its artifacts.

A drawing for a gift basket featuring a number of items from the book “Whispers from Wildwood” to a CD copy of the late Jim Wood’s History of Raleigh County will be held. Proceeds from the raffle, as well as the sale of floral arrangements, will go toward Wildwood House maintenance and upkeep.

Wildwood House is located on South Kanawha Street, across from Memorial Baptist Church. Ample parking is available at Wildwood in the lot in front of the house.

For more information about Christmas at Wildwood, contact Sandi Parker at the Youth Museum at 304-252-3730.