Friday, December 9, 2016

The joy of Christmas past

Did you ever wish you could visit your childhood home at Christmas?

Mary File Clem and her lifelong friend Ellen Bain Smith do just that each year when they decorate the Bolling Hall dollhouse for the holiday.
The dollhouse, an exact replica of the stately home off of Rock Castle Road, was built by Mary's mother, Shirley File, many years ago. The one inch to one foot scale model offers a glimpse into the way it looked in the mid 20th century.

Mary said that her family bought Bolling Hall in 1947 and sold it in the mid-90's.

Mary and Ellen recalled the fun they had inside the house and on the grounds, as well as playing in a small cemetery, which is not depicted.

Mrs. File, who passed away in 1990, painstakingly collected tiny furniture, bedspreads, drapery, and carpets to recreate the way the inside of the home looked when her family lived there. She even made the tiny quilt that peeks out of a blanket chest in a bedroom.

From roof shingles fashioned out of sandpaper to the tiny pink slippers just like the ones that Mary wore as a child now sitting on the rug in "her" bedroom, the details bring the house to life.
Mary File Clem places slippers just like those she wore as a child on the floor in "her" bedroom.

The kitchen is equipped with a wood burning stove and Christmas treats on the table.

Miniature shopping bags strewn in a hallway make it seem like someone just got home from a trip to Miller&Rhodes. Milk bottles sit outside the door as if the milkman just dropped them off.

"This is such a part of Goochland history," Ellen said as she adjusted a tiny toy.

The Bolling Hall dollhouse is permanently displayed in an attractive glass case just outside the Registrar's Office on the main floor of the Goochland County administration building.

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