STRONGSVILLE – Visitors to Strongsville’s historic village took a step back in time during the first two weekends of December.
Each year, the Strongsville Historical Society presents Christmas in the Village, an open house-style event that welcomes people into the village to see the eight buildings decorated for the season. The village spans 150 years of history, and each building is decorated true to its era. Each building also had volunteers telling of the history, the décor and the people who lived there.
The event is always free, and is considered by the members of the society to be a gift to the community, whether people just drive by and see the lights or venture inside to see the many trees, old-fashioned table settings and decorations. No one has to pay for anything during the two weekends, but many do choose to give donations.
It’s also a good time for the children. Santa and Mrs. Claus are both on the grounds – Santa in the Chapman House, which dates back to 1904, and Mrs. Claus in the Baldwin House, which dates back to 1823. Kids had the chance to spend time talking to them and getting pictures, and also got some holiday treats. In the Lathrop House – the Victorian-style house from 1871 – the Girl Scouts were making gingerbread houses.
The Girl Scouts made hundreds of gingerbread houses for the second weekend of the event. About 20 girls volunteered their time to help younger children decorate their own gingerbread houses, which they got to take home with them. They even collected all of the supplies for them.
“It’s a Girl Scout tradition. We’ve been working with the historical society for many years. These girls started out as Daisies and they came and made houses themselves. Now they’ve grown up and they can keep the tradition going and they like to be a part of that,” said Eileen Healy, an organizer of the Girl Scouts.
Other Girl Scouts were working as docents in the buildings throughout the village. They learned about the buildings and helped adult volunteers tell visitors about the history that can be found in the village.
“I like learning about our past. Once you volunteer here once, you realize how hard they used to have it and how easy we have it now. It makes you appreciate what you have,” said Girl Scout Gabriella Mathiellis, 12.
The student volunteers and about 30 to 40 adults were all giving their time to the event in the spirit of Christmas. The Strongsville Historical Society will continue meetings and events through the winter, and will open its doors for tours again in the spring.