Plans are underway for the 39th Annual Christmas House Tour. The Governor Wolf Historical Society will open six private historic homes and four early buildings on Saturday, Dec. 7. The homes will be open from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. This year’s theme is “Artistic Dates and Documents,” featuring dated frakturs, early birth certificates, old family bibles, dated quilts and more. The Home News will feature one of the homes each week until tour day.
The Peter Rohn home was purchased in 1997 by the current owners. Deeds were researched back to 1737 when the property was warranted to William Allen. In 1802, Johannes Peter Rohn, a prominent farmer, purchased 300 acres. His large Federal cut limestone farmhouse was built circa 1812. In the 1820s he built an octagonal school (since demolished) down the street from his home. A previous owner operated a popular restaurant, the “Dutch Oven,” in the home while they lived here in the 1950s.
The home has all six original fireplaces, 10′ ceilings, most of the original trim, doors, windows, and floors. Missing pieces were duplicated and restoration is almost complete. An addition provides storage, baths, pantry, and laundry allowing the original rooms to be left intact. An unusual feature of the kitchen walk-in fireplace are two original bake ovens, one 3′ deep, and the other 5′ deep. The stone foundation for the deeper oven is a prominent feature in the first floor addition. In winter this fireplace is frequently used for hearth cooking.
For the tour both floors will be open. An extensive collection of early wrought and cast iron pots and tools for hearth cooking are displayed in the kitchen. In the 1920s the house was featured in the “White Pine Series of Architectural Monographs” which has been reprinted by the National Historical Society. Future plans include converting the attic into an arts and crafts studio and the restoration of the summer kitchen.
On the same day, the Annual Historic Christmas Family Day will fill the GWHS campus from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Historic craftsmen will demonstrate, the 153 Civil War Coddington Reenactors will be encamped. Taste and watch hearth cooking, spinning and weaving, iron crafts, early powder horns and flintlocks, and more. There will be arts and crafts for children. Make this a yearly family destination. There is no parking or admission fee. A free-will donation may be dropped into our preservation jars if you wish. There will also be quality crafters selling their wares and fresh greens for sale. The Daily Grind in the Schoolhouse Café will offer food to take with you on the tour, or to enjoy there.
Ticket books are available- $25 advance and $30 day of tour. Booklets will be sold at S. Seem Antiques in Bath, Miller Ace Hardware on Rt. 329, Curt’s Cyclery in Nazareth, Country Capers in Bethlehem and Bath Drugs on Rt. 512.