We are undergoing a restroom remodel right now at the Mansion. We are converting our two small restrooms into one large restroom that meets the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards. The new restroom will include an automatic door, taller lavatory with handrails, automatic sink, and a diaper changing table. Due to the renovation, the Mansion will be closed to the public until the work is complete, which is scheduled to last until the end of February. During this down-time, we are cataloguing artifacts and putting the finishing touches on a brand new exhibit! We are looking forward to welcoming everyone back in March, and we thank you all for your continued patience, understanding, and support.
Don’t want to venture out this holiday season? Poplar Hill Mansion has you covered! We are offering a special deal for the holidays. For $10.00, you can purchase our special Home for the Holiday Tea Box. Each box contains a gourmet tea pyramid, two scones and a bag of assorted cookies for you to enjoy an afternoon tea in the comfort of your own home. Each box also has a bonus keepsake snowflake ornament! You can preorder your boxes by emailing our Curator and pay either online via our website or by check/cash when you pick-up your boxes. The boxes will be available for pick-up from PHM from December 6-10 or delivery within Wicomico County on December 11.
Did you know Salisbury is a National Bee City? With that in mind, we are happy to announce we will be installing a new pollinating garden! Through a generous grant from the Maryland State Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the local Chapter Samuel Chase DAR, PHM volunteers will be working on the garden, which was designed by Horticultural Students from Salisbury University under the guidance of our very own David Scheid. The garden, which is based in part on an embroidery from the early 19th century, will feature seasonal pollinating plants, an historic (non-functional) bee skep, a Chippendale fence mimicking the railings at PHM, and a bench, which will be dedicated to Gen Deggendorf, who passed away this year, for her love of PHM and gardening. Stay tuned for updates on this exciting new project!
Poplar Hill Mansion has decided to turn the space in our second floor hallway into a temporary exhibit space. Every year, we will feature a new exhibit pertaining to the history of PHM, the City of Salisbury, or the Federal Period in general. Starting soon and running through the end of next year, we will feature Childhood in the Early 1800s. The first family of PHM had four daughters all raised here at the Mansion. What was their life like? What did they do for fun? What kind of things did they play at? How was it different for boys and girls? This exhibit will showcase artifacts recently donated to PHM from Margaret Reed. Mrs. Reed is 100 years young and was an antiques dealer most of her life. She personally collected miniatures. Her collection features children’s tea sets, Early American Pressed Glass (EAPG) items, tin coffee pots, flatware with bone handles, a bedwarmer, and various other items, including the child size hutch pictured. The exhibit will also include items from PHM’s existing collection of children’s items and some new acquisitions such as a doll’s bed and child’s trunk (see featured artifact), as well as a couple new pieces of artwork depicting children in the early 1800s. We are very excited about this new exhibit and look forward to sharing information and having everyone come in and see all the new to us collection of artifacts.
Poplar Hill Mansion has the go ahead to reopen!!! Starting June 21st at 1:00, we will be resuming our normal hours open for tours. To meet safety guidelines from the CDC and the State of Maryland, there will be some adjustments. No more than 10 guests at a time inside the Mansion for now. Guests will enter the front door and exit through the rear door. Face coverings must be worn at all times while inside the Mansion. Social distancing will also be in effect inside with six feet between guests and docents. Also, no seating inside the house for now. Staff will sanitize surfaces between tours. While we will have our open house hours on Sundays, appointments are highly recommended. We know that all these measures might take some getting used to, but we want our guests and staff to remain safe. We will keep everyone posted on updates.
It is with a heavy heart that we have to cancel the PHM Festival for June 20, 2020, as well as other upcoming events for the forseeable future. This decision was not made lightly, but given the current situation regarding COVID-19 and the uncertainty for how long social distancing protocals currently in place will last, under guidance from the City of Salisbury, we have to think about the safety of guests, staff, volunteers, vendors, and other participants. It will not be rescheduled for this year, rather we look forward to seeing you all next year on June 19, 2021 when we will all be able to gather safely and celebrate the history, heritage, and resiliance of Salisbury. Thank you all, and we hope you and all your loved ones stay safe during this time.
Poplar Hill Mansion is committed to helping keep our community safe and healthy. In response to the COVID-19 situation, and under the guidance of the City of Salisbury, we have made the difficult decision to close through the end of the March. This means that all events through this period, including our St. Paddy’s Party and Spring Tea, have been cancelled and the Mansion will be closed on Sundays for tours for the next few weeks. As of right now, events scheduled beyond the end of the March, such as our Derby Day Tea (May 7) and our Annual Festival (June 20) are still moving forward and happening as scheduled.
The health of our guests and staff are a top priority and we want to be sure everyone remains safe and healthy.
We will continue to monitor this developing situation. Please check our website, www.poplarhillmansion.org, and Facebook page for updates.
Thank you for your understanding and continuing support of Poplar Hill Mansion.
The year 2020 marks a major anniversary for PHM as we celebrate the 225th Anniversary of the foundation being laid in 1795*. Levin Handy, a distant cousin of the Handy family of Pemberton, bought Pemberton’s Good Will (what would later be nicknamed Poplar Hill Mansion). He started to farm the land and also began construction on an ambitious house. The house he planned was a four and a half story structure. It was designed in the style of a New England Federal period house. The distinguishing feature between homes of New England and the homes of the same style in the Mid-Atlantic is the construction material. The Mid-Atlantic is known for their homes being built of bricks, while New England has homes made of wood. Why did Handy choose the New England style? Handy is from Rhode Island and decided to build in the style known and familiar to him. More than likely, Handy and his wife had a small cabin like structure on the property while the main farm house was being constructed (although, no evidence of such a structure has been found). In 1795, the brick foundation of the house was laid and construction began. It would take ten years to construct the house. During that time, Handy would go bankrupt and a warrant would be issued by the Worcester County Sherriff for the seizure of the property. Shortly after, Hany died and his widow sold off all the property, including the unfinished house, in order to repay all the debt Handy had accumulated. Levin Handy never got to live in the house he began, but it survives as Salisbury’s oldest house.
*Stayed tuned this year for a special commemorative event!
Congratulations to our new Board Chair, David Scheid! David was unanimously voted in by the Board to be the new Chair taking over for Ginny Hussey as her two year tenure as Chair comes to an end. David joined the Board in 2018 and became the Garden Chair due to his extensive background and expertise in horticulture and museums. We know David will do a great job in his new capacity as Chair (don’t worry, he is still in charge of the grounds and gardens too!). Ginny remains a Board member and continues as the Grants Chair and her service on the Hospitality Committee.
We’ve had some strong storms come through Salisbury this year, especially on the night of July 11. This has caused one of the locust trees in the back yard to come down. It simply fell over, taking up the roots with it. Fortunately, it fell directly into the parking lot, away from the house and caused no damage, also missing the fence and the curator’s vehicle. It fell with such force, that it shook the entire house. We were lucky. Our Garden Chair and Horticulturist, David Scheid, estimated it was about 140 years old based on the rings. That is old, but not as old as the house. It would have been planted during the Victorian period of the Mansion, probably by the Waller family who owned the house from 1881-1945. In, fact there are no trees that are original to the property, as there probably were not many ornamental trees on the property. That was common during the Federal Period; yards and lawns, as we know them, are much more of a Victorian tradition. The City of Salisbury Field Operations Division came out the very next morning to assess the damage. They started immediately cleaning up and removing the fallen tree, so that mid afternoon there was no sign that a tree had ever actually been there (save the large hole left behind). We have already been asked if we are going to replace the tree and that decision will be made by the Garden Chair in conjunction with the Maryland Historical Trust. Since we are an easement property and our easement extends into the grounds, we have to make sure we follow the guidelines set forth under our easement. Thank you agin to the City of Salisbury for being so quick in your response and also thank you to Tom Stevenson for checking on the safety of our Curator almost right after the tree fell and to Mike Konipick for clearing out some of the debris to make it possible for the Curator to remove her vehicle in case of an emergency.