Monday, December 19, 2011

I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus

When our Realtor, Robyn, called and cordially invited me to a champagne brunch followed by a trip to a mansion, I didn't hesitate to RSVP. I had no idea who would be there, or what the day would entail, but  it sounded exciting enough to me!  
As it turns out, I was the youngest at the party by a good 15-20 years, but I didn't let it hold me back. Oh no. I was ready to drink Mimosa's and mingle at a mansion I never knew existed. And it just so happens that lots of people are interested in nurses, minor traveling, and how I could possibly know Robyn, so talking out of my peer zone came easy.
 My knowledge of Dallas' history is limited. Yeah, so I'm not so much of a history buff. . . . . but I am now enlightened on the Alexander Mansion's history, located on Ross Ave in Dallas. It's story sends an impressive "Power to the Woman" message, being adopted by the first founded Women's Forum in Texas who kept the house afloat through the great depression. 
Built in 1904 for $125,000 (which modestly translates into $10 million today), it still posses all the original light fixtures, except one, and posses more intricate details the untrained eye may notice. Those marble pillars on the front of the house??? They were carried by boat from Italy and special wagons were constructed to transport them, requiring 20 horse each. 
Robyn and I thought Santa need some sugar for those rosy cheeks! I'm pretty sure if we weren't on his nice list before, we are now!
The entrance reminds me of a scene from Gone with the Wind, which leads up to a 10 foot tall Tiffany's Style window.  
Every room has elaborate wood detailing. The room above, being the library, with chairs facing a grande piano in the corner. The room below, with a dining room leading to the little tea room with light radiating warmth through the windows lined with Mother of Pearl. 
Only fine China is used here, with history behind each piece. I regret not capturing a picture of the napkin holders, which are truly unique. In the early 1900's families had to conserve in every way possible, even the wealthy ones, which is humbling in itself. One way of conserving was to use the same cloth napkin all week. Since no one wanted to share the same filthy napkin, each napkin ring holder was individually unique to the person that owned it. Every one with a story that related to it's owner. 
Mr. Alexander's sister lived with him and his family. She was a music teacher. Also, since there was no power company in Dallas in 1904, it had it's on generator!!! Wow. 
All the paintings in the Mansion have been purchased yearly over the last century by the Women's Forum. They were careful to only collect paintings by the most popular Texas artist of each year. 
There's so much more detail about the house than I shared, of course, and I'm so glad to know a little more about the city's history, especially when it represents strong independent females. You can learn a lot when you have the guts to venture out of your comfort zone!
I've been inspired. 
Is it just me, or does Santa look like he knows something else I don't know?

Do you like to learn about history? What do you do to step out of your comfort zone?


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