Looking to try something a little different than all the usual fare this holiday season? Then step back in time to the year 1862 by attending an authentic Victorian supper at Farnam Manor. The evening includes entertainment of popular music, period parlor games, conversation and the latest news of the war as related by the hosts, members of the Farnam family.
The Ohio Living History Society is serving several dinner meals at Everett Farnam Manor, 4223 Brecksville Road, Richfield on Dec. 22, 28 and 29.
The recipes date from the 1860s and are served by historical interpreters decked out in period attire. The guests are greeted at the entrance precisely at 6 p.m. by Mrs. Farnam and escorted inside where introductions are made and the clock magically turns back 150 years to the backdrop of the American civil war.
Several members of the household engage in lively conversation and the newly arrived visitors are entertained with some spirited piano playing and up-dated on current events. When dinner is announced, the party repairs to the dining room where the guests are treated to a bountiful repast.
Several courses consist of Julienne Soup (potato, carrot, turnip and celery in a chicken stock) and hearth-baked bread. A half of beef thinly sliced with onion, strong ale and mushroom ketchup. Spiced cabbage and potato puffs, along with cider to drink.
After dining on the hearty fare and much discussing of the events of the day, everyone ventures into the front parlor for the singing of Christmas songs around the fireplace, some poetry reading, and participation in several interesting and challenging games. Such as ‘Questions and Answers’ and ‘Who am I?.’
Returning to the dining room, Twelfth Night Cake and coffee are served. All good things must come to an end and it is eventually time to bid goodnight to the hosts with the promise to return again for a visit soon.
Society President Shelly Kamlowsky said although the OLHS was made official only recently, the group has been conducting reenactments together for a long time.
“We decided to form this and then we met Kathy and Tim that had this place. We’re talking with Case-Barlow Farms in Hudson to do things like encampments and Civil War reenactments. We are going to do educational programs with the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad in the spring, like ‘enlistment trains’ with the Civil War, also.”
Farnam Manor was built in 1834. “Doing something like this just makes history come alive,” said Kathy Magner, who, along with husband Tim, owns the manor. “We’ve been wanting to do something like this since day one, but we’ve never had the expertise that she’s got. It’s just perfect. We always thought it would be fun to do something like this here.”
Everett Farnam was the largest land owner in Summit Co. with 3,200 acres. It stretched from Rt. 303 to Snowville Road in Brecksville. He did some farming and also had sawmills. He raised blooded horses and even built his own race track to which people from as far away as Chicago would come to race on.
Farnam was also a great conservationist. For every tree he cut down he planted three (which he learned from the Native Americans).
“The Farnams first came here in 1812, so we are celebrating two hundred years of their arrival here,” said Magner. “His father originally acquired the land because he served in the Revolutionary War. They were giving land out here in the Western Reserve because they had served in the war. So his father is the one who actually established the estate and then Everett grew it to the 3,200 acres.”
Appearing as Farnam family members are: Patty Rizzi – Mrs. Emily Farnam (mother); T.J. Todd – Everett Farnam Jr. (son); Heather Faur – Miss Almira Oviatt (sister-in-law); Angie George – Miss Annjenette Farnam (niece); Chandra Blazek – Sarah Lathear (governess); Paige Kamlowsky – Pheba Stanley (servant); McKenna Tubbs – Mary Hodgeman (servant) and John Rys – Ira P. Foster (Civil War photographer).
The overall goal of the OLHS is to provide the public with the opportunity to experience American, Ohio and Western Reserve history first-hand. “Our mission is to educate the community by preserving, developing and interpreting local history. OLHS furthers its purpose through educational programs, school tours, foodways programs, and through the cooperation with area groups interested in local history.”
The cost is $60 per meal. For reservations or more information visit www.olhs.org or call 234-200-OLHS (6547).