Tour steps into Christmases past

December 20, 1992|By Sherrie Ruhl | Sherrie Ruhl,Staff Writer

If you can't stand another Christmas decoration that blinks or beeps, step back a century or so to a more gracious time.

Tudor Hall, with its distinctive Gothic Revival architecture, threw open its doors yesterday for a candlelight Christmas tour, which will continue tonight from 5 to 8.

The two-story house, outside Bel Air, is best known as home t the acting family that included Junius Brutus Booth, one of the greatest Shakespearean actors of his time.

His sons Edwin Booth, a respected actor, and John Wilke Booth, the assassin of Abraham Lincoln, grew up in the house.

During the holidays, the owners, Edward and Dorothy Fox, concentrate more on decorating the house than on its famous history.

Tudor Hall, which is filled with Victorian-era antiques an reproductions, plays up its quaint architecture with pine swags and Christmas trees.

"The house really shines at Christmas," Mr. Fox said, sitting i the large dining room yesterday afternoon. "We use lots of candles and kerosene lamps to make it seem like a Victorian Christmas."

The candlelight is also kind to the house's slightly disheveled air While the first floor and parts of the second have been renovated, plenty of plaster cracks can be seen.

No other tours are scheduled during the holidays because so many people come to visit, Mr. Fox said. Last year, more than 500 visitors came during three nights, he said.

Mr. Fox and a group of costumed volunteers answer questions and point out many of the house's features. Every room has a story.

In one bedroom, complete with a feather mattress, John Wilkes Booth slept, Mr. Fox said. Another bedroom features a Christmas tree decorated with tiny ballerinas. The Booth's two daughters, Asia and Rosemary, slept there.

The Fox family began renovating the 150-year-old house about 25 years ago -- unaware of its past. Mr. and Mrs. Fox, who live in the house, operate it as a bed-and-breakfast during the spring and summer.

Tudor Hall, at the end of Tudor Lane, is off Route 22, east of Bel Air. Adults are asked for a $2 donation for the candlelight Christmas tour. Children are admitted free. Information: 838-0466.

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