(Admission is Free)
We invite you to pay a visit to Christmas Manor, a nineteen room, circa 1874 Victorian Italianate home (located in Bryan, Ohio). This is one of N.W. Ohio's most visited attractions.
Thousands of gifts and decorations are displayed throughout this magnificent home. The decorating ideas you see can easily be transferred to any home. So come catch the spirit of Christmas at Christmas Manor.
During the off season, visit the Christmas Manor "Home for the Holidays-Gift Shop" & "Fireside Books." It is open with limited hours. Gifts are displayed in a cozy home atmosphere.
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Excerpt from December 2008 edition of OhioTraveler
There is an indefinable fascination that most people have with old mansions. And, there’s more to the allure than simply revisiting opulence of another era, because unlike ordinary houses, these dwellings were never built by ordinary people, and there’s a story behind every door.
Usually these builders were the wealthy that did things their way, regardless of tradition. And tradition, as quoted by Kurt Adler is “What you resort to when you don’t have the time or money to do it right.”
Their riches not only offered them the most extravagant comforts, but a flamboyant way of showcasing it. Sometimes too, it was the less than wealthy eccentrics who were out of step with the times who built them, but with all the variations, the fact that the owners were making a personal statement, is the one consistency.
In Bryan, Ohio there is a brick three-story, nineteen-room Victorian Italianate home that projects as much of an individual declaration today as it did for the wealthy doctor who built it in 1874. The present owners would probably prefer not to be described as eccentric, but they do use the old mansion in an unusual way—even though the announcement is one of cheer and good will to all. It’s known as Christmas Manor.
It’s open to the public only from September 20 through December 31 and nearly every room is decorated with a Christmas theme.
It started with a family named Goldsmith who purchased the house in 1962. After a few years, just as they were considering downsizing they happened upon an unusual Christmas shop in Rhode Island, and decided they could do something similar, only on a much larger scale with their house back in Bryan. They started with the porch and three rooms, and with each season the premise grew.
With one owner between them and the Goldsmiths, the present owners, Loretta and Max Musser have continued the ritual to the near ultimate. It is a bed and breakfast, but Christmas displays consume all but one bedroom. However, it is a very special room for those lucky enough to rent it. Access is gained through large double doors and up a winding walnut staircase to a room with a twelve-foot ceiling, fireplace, a sitting room and amenities. In the upstairs room used as Musser’s office there is a trap door leading to servant’s quarters, but there will be no servant bringing breakfast to your bed like the original family was accustomed. However, a voucher for a belt-busting meal at a local restaurant will satisfy the most ravenous morning appetite.
This is one museum-type house where the imported Italian parquet floors, antique chandeliers and bookcases, as beautiful as any, are completely overwhelmed by spirits—the kind that make you feel good—and the Mussers work to maintain that atmosphere.
On their buying trips they look for the most unique gifts and decorations, with creativity foremost in their designs that change yearly. Each room is a different color and diverse motif—seventeen rooms in all. A few examples are the Christmas kitchen, a country room, a room just for kids, and a winter park converted from an indoor swimming pool with every imaginable size and style of Christmas trees and candy canes everywhere.
This is a business, of course, but many people tour the Christmas Manor just to rekindle their Christmas spirit, and the Mussers are quick to confirm that everyone is welcome. In this year of economic woes some people may not be filled with the usual cheer, but a tour of this old mansion with every nook and cranny stuffed with Christmas gaiety is guaranteed to turn up the wick on that inner flame. For more information go to www.christmasmanor.com.
The Mussers also point out that the Spangler Candy Co. located in Bryan is the world’s largest producer of candy canes. If you want to know more about the red and white candies that are as decorative as they are tasty, the company offers tours and a museum. Call 888-636-4221 or go to www.spanglercandy.com for more details.
Robert Carpenter was born and raised in the New Philadelphia, Ohio area.