up the winter nights
Dana-Thomas House adds new features to holiday display, schedules
luminarias for Dec. 21
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[December 16, 2014]
– The Springfield Civic Garden Club and the Dana-Thomas House State
Historic Site are partnering for the second year in a row to prepare
one of Illinois' historic treasures for the holiday season.
Volunteers have made dozens of prairie-inspired floral
arrangements for the 12,000 square-foot home, designed in 1902 by
Frank Lloyd Wright for Springfield philanthropist Susan Lawrence
Dana. The home was finished in 1904, just in time for the holiday
season, when Mrs. Dana welcomed the families of laborers into the
home for the first of many holiday celebrations there.
New to the program this year is a Christmas tree decorated with
4-inch glass tiles designed in 1897 by Frank Lloyd Wright for the
Luxfer Prism Glass Company of Chicago. The company hired the young
architect to give a decorative exterior surface to their "Iridian"
line of prism glass, whose saw-tooth backs were designed to refract
sunlight deep into retail spaces. The glass tiles were saved from
destruction and assembled into ornaments by volunteers working
alongside instructors at the Springfield Art Association.
In addition, guests can see a new exhibit that showcases historic
Christmas lights. Susan Lawrence Dana was among the first in the
area to utilize electric light strands, called festoons, on her
Christmas tree. With funds donated by the Dana-Thomas House
Foundation, volunteers and IHPA staff members located tree lights
from the 1920s in order to create an eye-catching exhibit.
The annual luminaria event, where hundreds of candles are arranged
outside the historic home, is set for Dec. 21 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
The Dana-Thomas House is open Thursday to Sunday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. It
will also be open 5-8 p.m. on Dec. 17 with music by the Lincoln Land
Community College Choir and late hours at the historic site’s gift
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Also, the site is open the day after Christmas to accommodate
the large number of guests visiting Springfield residents.
“This is truly the season of giving at the Dana-Thomas House.
Dozens of volunteers from throughout our community have worked very
hard to make this historic treasure shine during the holidays,” said
Amy Martin, director of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency.
The Dana-Thomas House is perhaps the best-preserved of Wright’s
“Prairie Style” homes, with more than 400 pieces of specially made
art glass and original furnishings.
The house, located at 301 E. Lawrence Street (Fourth and Lawrence)
in Springfield, is operated by the Illinois Historic Preservation
Agency. For more information, visit www.dana-thomas.org.
[Chris Wills, Illinois Historic