Whether you are a doll collector, or just have memories of playing with a favorite doll, the Black House Doll Show was a delight for all.
Historic Black House director Jeanette Lowery and a host of volunteers and board members, along with doll collector Reba Reynolds, worked countless hours preparing both the house and the displays.
Each room held detailed displays depicting seasons of our lives, starting with birth and going through old age. The various seasons were also displayed with dolls from Reynold’s collection.
As guests entered the home, Reynolds joined them in the dining room telling them about her collection of Annalee Thorndike dolls shown on the dining room table, and bookshelves around the room. She conveyed they were started in the 1950s with handpainted faces, with no two alike.
Visitor and doll collector Ann Barnes enjoyed her first visit to the historic home, noticing some of the light fixtures and additions to fixtures were supplied by her families’ company, B&P Lamp Supply.
Reynolds’ daughter Darlene Martin was manning an upstairs bedroom where more dolls graced the mantle, hearth and adjoining tables. They told the story of courtships ending in weddings.
“We just all love dolls and collecting them. I used to run the Dolls N Toyland shop for mother and daddy, and they enjoyed collecting and going to doll shows together,” said Martin. “This show was wonderful for mother, as it gave her the opportunity to get into her collection and relive some old memories.”
Christmas was the focus in the parlor, where a holiday tree was covered with miniature dolls and toys, and was surrounded by open-mouthed carolers, Santas and collectible dolls.
Black House volunteer Robin Anthony had a fun post in the home. She got to work in a children’s bedroom featuring Reynolds’ children-playing doll collection. As Anthony got down on the floor with the collection, she said, “This is fun. What girl wouldn’t want to play with these wonderful dolls?”
All rooms in the home had displays. Dr. Black’s office had an unusual doll of a dentist pulling a tooth, something Black did in his career. There was an Easter display of lovely Annalee figures in an upstairs bedroom; historical and celebration displays were viewed in the music room, and Flag Day and New Years Day were represented in a back room.
The Black House was erected in 1825 as one of the first residences in McMinnville by Jesse Coffee, and 186 years later still stands at the corner of West Main and High streets.
With a Federal period design, the two-story building was distinct in its time due to having an exterior brick construction. It is listed on the National Historical Register.
The home remained in the possession of Dr. Thomas Black’s family for over 100 years, he using the home for his medical practice. It was deeded to The Eagle Fund in 1984 by the late Jean and Nancy Leonard, granddaughters of Dr. Black.
The Doll Show serves as a fundraiser for The Eagle Fund, in an effort to assist in maintaining the historical home.