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.

Mayor Day Tea

Successful Teas at Poplar Hill

This past summer we saw two very successful teas at Poplar Hill Mansion. We had our first ever children’s tea with the theme of Fairy Tales. It was wonderful to see all the young princesses and princes come to the tea dressed as their favorite characters. The children got to eat a special menu of fairy tale food and kudos to their parents for having taught them all proper tea etiquette! We had some surprise guests come by too…Snow White, Belle, and Anna (Frozen), dropped by to interact with the children and give them all tiaras and crowns. The tea was capped off by story time in the parlor and pictures of all the fun. Thank you to all those who really made it special for the kids, especially, Molly Likovich, Meaghan Murphy, and Maddi Horn.

We also had a sold out crowd at our Comfortable Side of Coastal Tea in early September, including a wonderful group for the Mallard Landing Retirement Community. This nautical themed tea was to celebrate the new logo of the City of Salisbury. It was really fun to make all the seafood inspired dishes for this tea. We wanted to transport guests to the shore with a beach décor and sea shanties playing in the background. We also had special guests for this tea. Salisbury Mayor Jake Day and the City’s Public Information Officer Chris Demone came to talk to guests about the new logo and branding and all the exciting events coming to Salisbury. This includes the National Folk Festival coming in 2018. We were honored that the Mayor chose to give our guests a sneak peak at the new Folk Festival logo right here at PHM (it was released to the public later that day). This was the first tea that the Mayor had been to at PHM and we hope it won’t be his last. Our guests enjoyed sitting with him and being able to talk to him one on one.

Ribbon Cutting 2017

Dr. Huston’s Surgery Room Exhibit is NOW OPEN!!!

On June 22, 2017 we officially opened our new surgery room exhibit. The grand opening ribbon cutting of Dr. Huston’s Surgery Room was a great success. We had over 50 people attend in conjunction with the Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce. In attendance, several elected officials came representing, city, county, state, and Federal offices including: Jack Heath, Salisbury City Council President, Jim Ireton, Salisbury City Councilman, John Cannon, Wicomico County Council President, Delegate Mary Beth Carozza, Maryland House of Representatives, and Shawn Jester (representing Congressman Andy Harris). WMDT also came the day of the opening to do a feature piece on the exhibit which aired that night on their news broadcast. We want to thank everyone who made the exhibit possible including our Staff; our Board of Directors; Wirt Wolfe who donated many of the medical instruments; the DiscoverSea Shipwreck Museum, who loaned us many instruments; The Union Drummer Boy in Gettysburg, PA, who helped in finding period imstuments; Design Floorcloths Limited, who hand painted the new floorcloth in the room; Jodi Shearer, who handmade authentic reproduction menswear; The Gentleman’s Historical Emporium, for men’s accessories (boots, hats, and cane); H & H Furniture in Pocomoke for the Windsor Chairs; and last, but never least, all of our wonderful supporters and contributors – – – this exhibit would not be possible with the contributions to the Bertha Lewis/Bobbi Biron Endowment Fund through the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore.

To see the exhibit of Salisbury’s first surgeon, please visit us any Sunday for free tours between 1:00-4:00 or by appointment.

WMDT Article

Spooky PHM

Salisbury Ghost Walks

PHM is happy to be joining Chesapeake Ghost Tours/ Haunted Eastern Shore’s schedule of Ghost Walks. Mindie Burgoyne leads the haunted tours of some of the Eastern Shore’s most haunted places. She has been doing haunted tours of area towns as well as writing about experiences in several books. She has added Salisbury to her itinerary and includes PHM as well as sites in Downtown and Holloway Hall at Salisbury University. When guests sign up for these tours, they get to hear about the local lore, legends, and spirit activity at several locations. PHM welcomes guests into the house to hear the stories of the many spirits, but are also allowed to wander the rooms and see if they can sense another worldly presence. For more information about upcoming tours, visit

Holiday Events 2016

We had our best attendance for our Yuletide Open House and Tea with Santa ever this year! We want to thank everyone who came out for our Yuletide Open House on Dec 4th. This year it was in conjunction with the Newtown Holiday House Tour. We welcomed over 200 people through Poplar Hill Mansion to see all the beautiful table arrangements from the Four Season’s Garden Club. We also got a special treat this year with the talented harpist Kara Russell-Dahl as she played favorite holiday tunes on her harp all afternoon. We even had a special spread in the Salisbury Independent showcasing some of the decorations on the second floor. Our Tea with Santa was also a big success as more families than ever came to visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus, enjoy peppermint tea and hot chocolate, and of course eat some cookies!


Thank you to everyone who came out for our Halloween Party on October 28! We had a great turnout with a lot of interesting costumes for our costume contest. Our Palm Reader, Madame Helen, was kept busy all night by those eager to learn their future or spiritual connections. Local paranormal author and storyteller, Andy Nunez was also on hand to talk to visitors about the haunted history of Poplar Hill and Salisbury.




The Friends of Poplar Hill Mansion are excited to announce that we will be constructing a new surgery exhibit! Dr. Huston’s Surgery Room will be opening in 2017 and will showcase furnishings and instruments pertaining to surgical practices in the early 1800s. Dr. Huston practiced surgery in the rear room of the house and in keeping with our mission to interpret history of the Federal Period, we are transforming this space into a typical surgeon’s room. We are collaborating with other museums to acquire instruments of the period. We hopefully will also be getting an expert speaker to give a lecture about medical practices in the early Republic or during the War of 1812. Come check out the progress any Sunday during tours from 1-4.