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Black House holds Christmas event
Black House Children's Christmas - Maddox Forsythe.jpg
Maddox Forsythe flashes a big smile while seated in Santa’s armchair. - photo by Nikki Childers
Black House Children's Christmas - Earline Steakley.jpg
This cheerful Christmas tree was one of many set up for the event. Earline Steakley donated her time to inform visitors about the Black House and help decorate it. - photo by Nikki Childers

The weekend was an opportune time to learn about the Black House in downtown McMinnville.

Many turned out to attend A Children’s Christmas at the Historical Black House. The event spanned across two days and admission included a tour through the various rooms. Snowmen, bells and other festive imagery brightened rooms throughout the tour. Toys and train track sets were found scattered in numerous displays, adding a youthful charm. “I was trying to come up with a theme for this year’s Christmas event,” Lowery said. “A Children’s Christmas seemed right since Dr. Black had 11 children.” 

Visitors were regaled with tales about the previous owners and the transformations the property had taken over the nearly two centuries since it had been built. At the end of their tour, they enjoyed warm cider or cocoa and a cookie to ward off the cold outside as they made their way back to their vehicles after an evening of historical enlightenment.

Being 195 years old makes the Black House the oldest historical building in McMinnville. Before it was home to Dr. Black, curator Jeanette Lowery says, the home belonged to Joshua Harrison and was called the Garden Center of McMinnville by the locals. “The property was 13 acres and went all the way back to the river,” said Lowery. “It had flowers as far as the eye could see.” Harrison later sold it to Dr. Thomas Black whose descendants kept it in the family for over one hundred years and for whom the house is named.

In 1984, Lowery took over maintenance of the Black House, referencing a picture from the past to plan the restoration of the property. 

She worked with the board to refurbish what could be salvaged from the house and renovate what couldn’t, all in the effort to return the house to its country house roots.

The dedicated preservation of the Black House comes with a price, however, and the fish fries, tours and other events hosted by them help to contribute to furnishing those funds. 

The event took place Saturday at 3-8 p.m. and again Sunday at 1-6 p.m. Door prizes were given away to numerous visitors courtesy of generous businesses and individuals around Warren County. They included everything from cash prizes to bicycles and home décor. Proceeds from the admissions fees continue to support the maintenance of the Black House.

Door prizes were donated by Gateway Tire & Service Center, Lowes, Wal-Mart, Barbara’s Hair Fantasy, Exchange Furniture, Warren County Farmers Co-Op, Jolie Aesthetics, All-O-K’sions Flowers & Gifts, Diamond Jewelry Co., Collins River BBQ, Martha Byars, V’s Hair Salon, Francis Nunley, David Moore, Earline & Jerry Steakley, Tree City Realty, Martha & Marcy Collins, Waymon Hale Construction – Waymon Hale, Kendra & Danny Wooden, Music provided by Joseph Stotts & Children.