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Iles House holiday events December 7, 14 and 15

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[December 13, 2018]   Visitors are invited to see Springfield's oldest surviving house in a different light during the annual holiday events scheduled for the Elijah Iles House on December 7, 14 and 15. The events are free and open to the public, but donations are welcomed.

Iles House Candlelight Tours will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, December 7 and again on Friday, December 14. The house's fully decorated interior will help demonstrate how Christmas was celebrated in the 19th century and how it evolved from a relatively minor holiday into a major American celebration. Period-authentic decorations will be illuminated by candlelight and lamplight. Light refreshments will be served downstairs in the Farrell and Ann Gay Springfield Museum of History, which features an exhibit of Illinois Watch Company wristwatches and other company memorabilia. A recently discovered 1926 silent film about the Watch Company factory in Springfield is now running at the Museum also.

“An Historic Christmas” will be held at the Iles House on Saturday, December 15 from 1 to 5 p.m. Special tours of the fully decorated house will show how the Christmas holiday celebration grew and evolved during the 19th century.

Children can enjoy face painting and cookie decorating, and all visitors may partake in caroling, other holiday traditions and refreshments. The duet Peaches and Cream will provide live music from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.

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The circa 1837 Elijah Iles House at 628 South Seventh Street is the oldest surviving house in Springfield and is open Wednesday and Saturday from April through October for public tours. It hosts many programs and events for the public, and may also be rented for special events. The house's historic main level is furnished as would have been typical in 1840s Springfield. The lower level houses the Farrell and Ann Gay Museum of Springfield History. Because of the house's impressive architecture and rich history, it was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. Two of Springfield's most famous citizens, Abraham Lincoln and poet Nicholas Vachel Lindsay, are known to have visited the house.

For more information about the Elijah Iles House, visit or call (217) 492-5929.

[David Blanchette]

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