Nursery Restoration and Improvements

After extensive scrape testing done in the second floor Nursery, we were able to determine what the true closest original historic paint colors were from 1805. As you may recall, the Nursery was repainted a few years ago after plaster repairs had to be made, but the colors painted at that time, were not the actual historic colors.  At that time, a guesstimate was made based on a paint chip found during the plaster reapir. It was assumed to be the same golden ocre color as in the first floor main dining room and a trim color was was chosen by the Board at that time to compliment the bright yellow, based on a color at Monticello. Working with historians and museum professionals, the process of scrape testing was done throughout the room. We were then able to work with Benjamin Moore who carries a line of historic colors and matched the colors. The walls are Concord Ivory, the ceiling is Monteray White, the main trim is Cushing Green, and the baseboard is Tavern Gray.  We have also rearranged the room to be more conducive to a palce where children would have lived, including moving the furniture and adding toys, games, learning material, and samplers from the early 1800s. Thank you to the City of Salisbury for making this project possible and a big thank you to Paint Tech and Ben Jorden for doing such a great job!


Second Annual Poplar Hill Mansion Festival

We want to thank EVERYONE who came out to the Award-Winning Second Annual Poplar Hill Mansion Festival held June 15! The weather could not have been more perfect for the day. The festival included some of the favorites from last year such as, The Friends of Maryland’s War of 1812, Chesapeake Independent Blues re-enactors, the Royal Marines, interpreting the British side of the War of 1812, the Dover Country Dancers, Canzona Diversa, live sheep from the Look Pretty, Play Dirty Mobile Petting Farm, and the Wicomico County 4-H, once again doing archery demonstrations. We also welcomed back many of our vendors and had some new vendors, such as Sandyhook Art Glass Studios, Crescent Moon Jewelry, and Pedestal Plates by Susan Peacock. Our kid’s activities tent and spinning demonstrations were big hits with children. Once again, we’d also like to thank Judge Robin Roberts for presiding over our Locked in the Stocks “court.”

We’d also like to give a great big thank you to all our sponsors and those who supported the Festival with donations and financial contributions:

The City of Salisbury, Robinson’s Printing, Rise Up Coffee, Parties Etc., Farmers & Planters, Avery Hall Insurance, Weisner Real Estate, The Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore, The Ward Museum

We could not have done the Festival without all of you! To see more pictures of this year’s Festival, please visit our website or Facebook page. Be sure to mark your calendar for next year’s Festival on June 20, 2020.

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PHM Wins Prestigous Award (Again!)

The Friends of Poplar Hill Mansion are proud, grateful, and honored to announce that we have been awarded the Lower Eastern Shore Heritage Council’s 2019 Best New Heritage Initiative Award for the Poplar Hill Mansion Festival: Celebrating Over 200 Years of Salisbury History! As you may recall, last year we received the 2018 Best Heritage Interpretation Award for the Dr. Huston Surgery Room Exhibit from LESHC. We once again received multiple nominations for the award. Thank you to everyone who made it possible, including Sarah Meyers, our Curator, who helped plan and execute the Festival; the entire Board of Directors, especially Ginny Hussey, the Chair of the Board,  Jeanne Mears, the Chair of the Festival Committee, who helped sign off on grants to help support the festival and Sharon Murphy, Treasurer, who organized the Locked in the Stocks event; all the volunteers who worked during the festival; all the participants and vendors; the City of Salisbury for all their assistance; LESHC and SWAC for their support of local heritage and arts; and most especially all of you who came out to the Festival to show your support and enthusiasm for PHM programming.

Oven Install

Kitchen Remodel

After almost a year of planning and work, we are happy to announce that our kitchen has been fully remodeled and is up and running again. We have updated the kitchen to an official Special Events kitchen. We’ve added a double oven, new cooktop with vent hood, new larger refrigerator, a commercial dishwasher capable of doing a load of dishes in 120 seconds (you read that right, a two-minute cycle), added counterspace, and a new handwashing sink. The whole kitchen has also received a fresh coat of white cabinet paint to make it easier to clean and resistant to moisture. What does all that mean for events here at PHM? Well, it means that we will be able to host events, such as our teas, more efficiently and that our private rentals will have more amenities and be able to operate better out of our kitchen. Thank you to Diane Waller with the Wicomico County Health Department for your guidance on this project and all your patience as we navigated through the regulations. Also, Frank Ennis with the City of Salisbury for your assistance with the review of the plans and guidelines. We’d like to thank our contractor, Joe Magoon for all his work and special thanks to the carpenter/cabinet specialist Hunter Davis. An interesting side note is that Hunter told us he worked on the Mansion in the 1970s when the City first acquired the property and updated and did some construction. Thank you, Alan McLeod, who helped with the plumbing and installed the new sink. We would also like to thank the City of Salisbury for all of their assistance and partial funding of this project.


Holiday Season at PHM

hank you to all the volunteers, entertainers, and especially the guests who made this holiday season at Poplar Hill such a success! We had over 500 people visit us this holiday season for the various events, parties and to see the house beautifully decorated.

Our season kicked off with a free small standard flower show presented by the Four Seasons Garden Club, a member of the Federated Garden Clubs of Maryland and the National Garden Clubs in the Central Atlantic Region. Visitors had a chance to see local flowers and other horticulture as well as different arrangements inspired by several categories, presented by members of the Club. This was a judged competition with ribbons given in the various categories. Best in Show for arrangements went to Frances Follmer in the category of Season of Light.

The Yuletide Open House continues to be a part of our holiday tradition. Harpist Kara Dahl Russell was once again our featured performer for the event and this was part of our Music at the Mansion series. She graced us with her beautiful harp music for the third year and we are so happy to host her!

Probably our most popular event during the season is our Tea with Santa and Mrs. Claus. This is an annual favorite for families to attend. This year, we not only had the guest of honor and his wife, but we also had Stephanie Brilliant, Miss Pure International Teen 2018 in attendance. It was a wonderful day as children from as far away as Pennsylvania, got to enjoy seeing Santa, eating cookies, and drinking tea poured from our 1911 Jenkins & Jenkins sterling silver tea service. The children also enjoyed visiting our second floor where they got to see the Nutcrackers displayed in the Nursery, a holiday village complete with trolley, and a Christmas tree with over 1,500 ornaments. Every year we have children who try to find the Christmas Pickle on the tree, as it is meant to bring good luck in the coming year.

The Music at the Mansion Series also continued with a holiday performance from Canzona Diversa. The consort, or quartet, features Susan Parker on the violin, Jim Ressegger on the viola da gamba, Karen Zera on the recorder, and Bill Alexander on the guitar and the pianoforte. Canzona Diversa has been practicing at the Mansion and wanted to say thank you by offering to do a recital of their holiday music. They have been working hard and trying new material from the Baroque and Renaissance periods, as well as their regular repertoire of early 19th Century music. While not a formal concert, guests had the opportunity to enjoy the ambiance of the holiday music while looking at the holiday decorations throughout the first and second floors of the Mansion.

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New Garden Chair

We are so excited to welcome David Scheid as our newest Board member and Garden Chair! A native of Lima, Ohio, David graduated with a B.S. in Horticulture/Floriculture from Ohio State University.  He attended graduate school at Cornell University and after a stint in the U.S. Army, graduated with a M.S. in Horticulture/Botanic Garden Management and Museum Studies from the Longwood Program at the University of Delaware. He then went to work for the Nemours Foundation in Wilmington, Delaware, overseeing the opening of the estate “Nemours”, of the Late Mr. & Mrs. Alfred I. DuPont as a public garden and museum. Following that he became the Vice President for Horticulture at the New York Botanical Garden in Bronx, NY; and then became Executive Director of the United States Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C. From 1992-2007 he served as Program Head for the Horticulture/ Landscape Design Program at the Northern Virginia Community College, Loudoun Campus, which is the second largest multi-campus community college in the United States. In 2015 he began teaching as an adjunct in the Environmental Studies Department at Salisbury University currently is a Professor of Practice teaching Sustainable Design in the department. He started gardening at age 6 and since 1995 spends much of his free time restoring his Victorian home in Salisbury, MD on the Eastern Shore. He has written numerous articles and has worked with the garden club community and their educational programs as well as Master Gardener programs for the better part of 20 years. He considers his specialty to be that he is a generalist in the world of plants and gardens.


Inagural PHM Festival Huge Success!

We want to thank EVERYONE who came out to the inaugural Poplar Hill Mansion Festival held June 23! It was such a great day and attendance was fantastic! The festival included: The Friends of Maryland’s War of 1812, Chesapeake Independent Blues re-enactors, spinning demonstrations, live sheep from the Look Pretty, Play Dirty Mobile Petting Farm, Canzona Diversa performing live music the Federal period, and the Dover English Country Dancers. We also had the Wicomico County 4-H doing archery demonstrations and crafts with families. There was also a Market Square with Griswold Woodworks, Corsets & Cogs, Ink and Annie Calligraphy, Divine Planet Jewelry, Saltwater Baskets, Sleepy Moon Soap Co., Lil’ Kitchen Canner and Baked Goods, Nature’s Gifts by Kathy, Spirited Earth Designs, and local author Andy Nunez. We also want to thank some local officials for being good sports by participating in the “Locked in the Stocks.” Senator Addie Eckhardt, Senator Jim Mathias, Delegate Carl Anderton, City Council President Jack Heath, and Bo McAllister were all “charged” with helping us raise some money and their efforts “warrant” a round of applause.

We would also be remiss if we didn’t mention our sponsors for the festival. A great big thank you to the City of Salisbury who helped with logistics such as street closures, parking, and also loaned us tents to use. Also, Parties Etc., for giving us an in-kind donation and setting up a huge tent for our Market Square. Robinson’s Family of Businesses always does a fantastic print job and did all of our tee-shirts (which we have available for sale!). A big thanks also goes out to Charles Otto and Farmers and Planters for loaning us bales of straw. We could not have done the festival without any of you! The festival was made possible, in part, by a grant from the Salisbury Wicomico Arts Council, awarded by the Maryland State Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts. We thank them for their continued support of the arts and music programming throughout the greater Salisbury area. The festival was also made possible, in part, by a grant from the Lower Eastern Shore Heritage Council. LESHC is a nonprofit 501©3 organization and a certified Maryland Heritage Area through Maryland Heritage Area Authority, whose purpose is to preserve, protect and promote the cultural, natural and historical heritage of Somerset, Wicomico and Worcester counties.

We have already set the date for next year so mark your calendars for June 15, 2019 for the Second Annual PHM Festival!



PHM Wins Prestigeous Award

The Friends of Poplar Hill Mansion were honored and grateful to receive the 2018 Heritage Interpretation Award for our Dr. Huston Surgery Room Exhibit from the Lower Eastern Shore Heritage Area Council (LESHC). We had several nominations for the award. Thank you to everyone who made this possible, including our Curator, Sarah Meyers for all her planning, research, design, and construction of the exhibit; the Board of Directors, especially Carol Smith who assisted with the research and design; the DiscoverSea Shipwreck Museum in Fenwick Island, DE and the Estate of Dr. George Yokum, for loaning several of the early 19th Century medical artifacts; the City of Salisbury for their support and help with the heavy lifting (quite literally); and last, but not at all least, the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore who manages our Bobbi Biron/Bertha Lewis Endowment and without which we could not have done this exhibit.


Capital Improvements Coming in 2020!

It was announced in February that the Salisbury City Council and Mayor Jake Day have approved plans for major capital improvements to the mansion. This will go beyond just maintenance of the building. Every year, a plan is submitted to the City for improvements and the City has agreed to take on many of these projects, some of which include, restoring the covered portico to the front porch, repairing the front retaining wall, painting the entire building, historic shutter repair and/or replacement to the entire house, and garden improvements (including the installation of a gazebo). Projects are expected to cost around $200,000 and the City will be exploring granting opportunities to help cover costs. Work is expected to begin sometime in 2020. Thank you to the City of Salisbury for their continued support and commitment to our shared history and historic preservation.


New Program – Music at the Mansion Series!

PHM is very happy to announce a new – Music at the Mansion. The Music at the Mansion Series will feature local musicians playing a diverse variety of music. Many musicians have told us that they particularly enjoy playing at PHM because of the wonderful natural acoustics in the building. We have already been doing musical programs and want to make it more of a regular event. We have invited some groups for return engagements for this spring and hope to keep this as an ongoing series, funding permitting. The Salisbury Wicomico Arts Council was very generous this past fall in helping PHM to fund two musical events. First, we had local Salisbury quartet, or as it would have been called during the period, consort, Canzona Diversa do a reception full of period music featuring the pianoforte in Novemeber. The quartet features Susan Parker on the violin, Jim Ressegger on the viola da gamba, Karen Zera on the recorder, and Bill Alexander on the guitar and the pianoforte. The group has agreed to come back for an encore performance on February 11, 2018. Another performer who was featured was harpist Kara Dahl Russell. She graced us with her beautiful harp music for our Yuletide Open House. This was the second year she has agreed to play holiday music at the Mansion, and we hope it is a tradition that continues for many years to come.

PHM will also be welcoming back Mickey Justice and Mike O’Loughlin this March 15th to play some of their favorite Irish Folk music in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. This is always of special interest to PHM since Dr. John Huston was of Irish decent and surely, Irish music would have been heard in the house during his lifetime. Also, this May 12th, PHM will be hosting a Mother’s Day Tea Reception featuring the music of Judy Willing, Becky Joseph, and Bill Alexander. They played last year for our Mother’s Day event and were such a hit, that we had to bring them back! They bring to life many of the classic hits of the 1950s and 1960s and present a great show where everyone can sing along with their favorite songs.

The Music at the Mansion Series will be free and open to the public and is our way of saying thank you to the community. Please note that these are not formal concerts. Limited seating will be available throughout the Mansion. Tours of the mansion will also be available. If you haven’t visited Poplar Hill Mansion for a while, now is the perfect opportunity to see some changes in the exhibits and to see what’s new.

The Music at the Mansion Series is made possible, in part, by a grant from the Salisbury Wicomico Arts Council, awarded by the Maryland State Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts. We thank them for their continued support of the arts and music programming throughout the greater Salisbury area.