Ho, ho, ho! It’s Christmas time at the Poe House. The Museum of the Cape Fear has a myriad of events and exhibits planned for the holiday season. If you have ever wondered what Christmas was like in Fayetteville during the Victorian era, be sure to visit the Poe House. The decorations are historically accurate and offer a insight into the way local families lived and celebrated Christmas in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Take a tour and learn about the customs and traditions of the time.
“By Thanksgiving, we have the Poe House decorated for Christmas so people who go downtown and enjoy Dickens’ holiday can come and see the Poe House,” said Leisa Greathouse, curator of education at Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex. “The decorations will be up until Jan. 10 which is after the Epiphany Christian Observation.”
The 1897 Poe House was home to the Poe family which consisted of Edgar Poe, his wife and eight children. Poe was an affluent businessman who was born in Fayetteville and owned and operated a brick factory. He had two brick yards. “He delved into other things such as building materials and hired potters to make jugs and bowls and it became known as Poe Pottery,” said Greathouse. “It makes it sound like he was a potter but he wasn’t.” Greathouse added that Poe and his wife, Josephine, had eight children that they reared in the house, which were six girls and a set of twin boys. Mrs. Poe’s job was like most women of her socioeconomic class, which was to stay home and be a good wife, mother and provide a good home for her family.
“We talk about early technology in the Poe House like the first indoor plumbing that they would have gotten here in Fayetteville,” said Greathouse. “Also electricity was one of those inventions that made our life much simpler … that they were witnessing for the first time back then.”
The museum has an exhibit called “Stagville: Black and White.” It is a black and white photographic exhibit of Stagville State Historic Site which is located in Durham. “At the time of the Civil War it was the largest slaveholding plantation in North Carolina,” said Greathouse. “The plantation owner, Paul Cameron, was the richest man in North Carolina at the time.” Greathouse added that these are photos of what remains of the slave cabins, big house, the great barn and the grounds. Brenda Scott met descendants of the slaves that lived on the property and photographed them and conducted historic interviews.
The events are free and open to the public. For more information call 486-1330.