The parlor has been decorated in memorabilia from the M. E. Molstad family's photo album. GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE
The parlor has been decorated in memorabilia from the M. E. Molstad family's photo album. GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE
Local people won't just be gathered around the Christmas tree this holiday season; some residents from the past will also be on the trees at the Washburn-Zittleman House Museum in Spring Valley.

Christmas tea and tour attendees will find ornaments featuring residents who have called Spring Valley home on the nine Christmas trees at the Washburn-Zittleman House Museum during the annual fundraising event set for Saturday, Dec. 14, and Sunday, Dec. 15.

"The theme this year has been rather fun - we have begun a project of scanning our many photo files over to the computer in hopes of putting them on other types of media for storage so that in case of a fire, theft or some other disaster, we could still have the photos preserved and available for use," said Spring Valley Historical Society (SVHS) Director Julie Mlinar. "In the process, we have found many delightful pictures of local people, so we decided to make copies of some into ornaments for the nine Christmas trees that will be on display."

Most of the vintage photographs feature familiar families from Spring Valley. However, the tree in the kitchen has photographs of local grocery and food-related businesses on it. Also, the children's room will have photos of school children instead of a family.

Some families were chosen because of things in the room that had belonged to that family. For example, the Halbkat family will be displayed in the master bedroom because of the furniture in the room that belonged to them.

The tea menu features dainty delights that tempt teatime tasters to tuck in and enjoy. There will be a chicken croissant sandwich, with a choice of three soups, drinks and choice of dessert.

"Though the tea is in a historical setting, the tea itself is not historically accurate, but we do sometimes have an old fashioned dessert just to remind people of the 'good old days,'" Mlinar stated. "The interesting part of the tea is that it is done in a historical home setting, but still somewhat of a restaurant style service. And, of course, it's also people being able to come and sit and relax with friends and neighbors in a quieter and slower atmosphere during a very busy time of the year."

Though the teatime features the museum and its contents, the SVHS volunteers do not use items that could be broken or harmed. Although there are no dishes or glassware from the museum used that day for the tea, they do use its tables and chairs and try to keep as much of the museum intact as they have room to do.

People that attend the teas will be encouraged to walk through the house after or before the tea to check out the decorations and the home if they have not been there before. There will also be a parlor organ available to anyone who would like to add some Christmas music to the afternoon.

"The best part about serving the teas is having the guests enjoy themselves and leaving with comments about being full and enjoying their time with us, and giving back a little to the community that supports and encourages us, the society, to get going," Mlinar added. "We really appreciate people who support our efforts to preserve the history of the area by attending our events, sending support, and volunteering in many ways. We really cannot survive without the community behind us, and we thank everyone for this. Furthermore, this is actually one of our biggest fundraisers during the year, so it is important for us to do well with it. We will be receiving supplemental funding from the West Fillmore County Chapter of Thrivent Financial."

The Spring Valley Historical Society's Washburn-Zittleman House tea and tour is slated for Saturday, Dec. 14, and Sunday, Dec. 15, at 1 p.m. each day; only one sitting is on the calendar for each day - and tickets for the event are $10 per person.

"We do have room for parties of more than six, as we can accommodate about 20 at a sitting, but on a first-come, first-served basis, and because of this, reservations are required," said Mlinar. "Seats have already been filling up, with Saturday's tea being close to full, so please call as soon as possible to reserve your seat."

The Washburn Zittleman House Museum is located at at 220 W. Courtland Street in Spring Valley. For tea reservations, call the Spring Valley Historical Society at (507) 346-7659.