Elegant Christmas decorations, tasty refreshments, a concert of Christmas music by local children, and a book signing by author Andy Phelan were featured at the Almond Historical Society’s 2012 Christmas Open House on Sunday, December 2.

The Christmas Open House and musical program has been an Almond Historical Society tradition for many years. The house was decked out in Christmas decorations created  by Helen Spencer, Cindy Banker, Diane Davis, and Susan Steere. Guests were treated to wassail made by Kitty Baker and Mary Jane Reid’s homemade Christmas cookies.  Helen Spencer and Anna Morford served refreshments.

At 2 p.m. in the Almond Union of Churches sanctuary (next door to Hagadorn House), Randi Corkey directed three children’s groups:  a kids choir, a girls’ ensemble and a young men’s group, who presented a delightful musical program.  Donna Ryan accompanied the groups.

Dr. Andrew Phelan , who lives in Oklahoma, was present during the open house to sign copies of his  newly completed book, Becoming the Village Potter, the Life of Linn L. Phelan.

Linn L. Phelan (1906-1992) was a long time Almond resident well known for his “personalized pottery”. Phelan, together with his wife, Helene, were among the founders of the Almond Historical Society in the early 1960s.  Linn served as archivist for many years, and Helene was historian and author of several books on local history.  Phelan also was well known as an Alfred-Almond Central School art teacher and then later with his community involvement and cultural initiatives.

The author, the oldest son of Linn L. Phelan, will be present to talk about the book and to sign copies at the Almond Library on December 1, 2012 at 11AM as well as during the Open House at Hagadorn House on Dec 2.

The Hagadorn house was built in the 1830s by Jesse Angell, a prosperous merchant whose general store was located across the street.  By 1867, the residence was occupied by the John Wetherby family, including his daughter, Cornelia and her husband, Dr. Will Hagadorn.  The dwelling was the home of the Hagadorn family for more than 100 years, when Ken Hagadorn bequeathed it to the Almond Historical Society in 1971.  The house now serves as a museum and repository of materials and items which significantly illustrate the history of the town and village of Almond.

One important feature of the house is the cooking fireplace, complete with bake oven, wood box and fireplace equipment.  The fireplace had been covered over sometime in the early 1900s, and was rediscovered by Ken’s wife, Marie, in the early 1940s, shortly after they were married and living in the home.

The Hagadorn House is open to the public on Friday afternoons from 2 – 4 pm, with the records and resources in the adjacent  office building available for genealogy and family research.   Doris Montgomery is the current archivist, and is assisted by volunteers Sheryl House, Kitty Baker, Lillian Hanks, Barbara Bernstein and Donna Ryan.