"Christmas at the Bonine House full of smiles"
Press Release 12/15/2015
The 4th Annual Christmas at the Bonine House December 11, 12 and 13 was full of smiles. Balmy weather drew over 1200 people to tour the historic Victorian home of James E. and Sarah Bogue Bonine on Penn Rd and M-60 in Vandalia, MI, each room decorated for Christmas by members of the Underground Railroad Society of Cass County (URSCC). Toy soldiers greeted visitors at the back entrance where the latest construction showed progress on the restoration of the house connected with the Underground Railroad (UGRR). They marveled at the new front porches recently added and the new library upstairs, showcasing families involved in the UGRR. Santa and Mrs Claus and their elf spread Christmas cheer to children of all ages, and singers filled the house with carols.
URSCC has been restoring the Bonine House and the Carriage House across the street for five years. Spokesperson Cathy LaPointe said many people return year after year to see the unique decorations as well the progress on the house. "They have changed from saying we have a long way to go, to saying how far we've come." "There were many new people from around the region that came this year, word has spread."
click here for a tour of the decorated rooms. A video of the CBH celebration with musical performances will be here soon. Enjoy the photo galleries below.
The Bonine House in the first snow of 2015, about two weeks before the house was opened for Christmas.
CBH 2015 almost didn't happen at all. We had an emergency repair to the back wall that jeopardized the event (see the toy soldier photos). We actually cancelled CBH, but Dale Layman, our general manager; and Gene Deubner, our mason, said that they could insure safe entrance in the back door. And to make that happen, Dale and his crew built a temporary ramp, and Gene and his crew finished the brick work to a level above the door frame.
We're so glad our 4th CBH came off without a hitch. So many members of URSCC gathered round and created a lovely Christmas experience for over 1200 people. Kids of all ages were enchanted and everyone was happy with the progress on the Bonine House, especially our beautiful front porches.
Enjoy the photo galleries of the rooms, and the videos as well.
We're in our "It's Time" Capital Campaign. If you're a member of URSCC, thanks for your support; you're making this happen. If you would like to join us, please go to the Join/Donate page and become a member. It's an incredible journey, one worth taking. Thank you, Merry Christmas-- URSCC
Underground Railroad Society
of Cass County, Michigan
Christmas at the Bonine House 2015
Below are some photos by Jim Thompson, retired professional photographer from Portage, MI using his wide angle lens.