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Durkee Mansion hosting Holiday Open House on Nov. 28

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KENOSHA — The historic Durkee Mansion at Kemper Center, 6501 Third Ave., is once again dressed in its holiday finest and ready for visitors.

The decorating theme this year is “Starry Woodland Nights,” and, as you look around, you’ll see woodland creatures (think: owls, deer, rabbits, squirrels) tucked in among the decorations.

"We kicked around ideas and came up with woodland creatures — and then we added the starry nights," said Julie Iorio, a longtime Durkee volunteer. A committee of volunteers works together each year to get the mansion ready for the holiday season.

The Durkee opens this season with its Holiday Open House from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 28.

During Sunday's Durkee Open House, the resident artists at Kemper Center’s Lakefront Art Studios are hosting a Holiday Market with original artwork for sale, also from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 28. The studios are located on the third and fourth floors above the Simmons Auditorium at Kemper. There is an elevator for easy access.

After the Open House, the Durkee is open 3 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 30, through Friday, Dec. 3, and from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 4-5. There is no admission fee.

The 1861 mansion, once owned by Sen. Charles Durkee, is a local landmark.

If you were to visit this area in the 1860s at Christmastime, you would find homes decorated in their holiday best. Many would have Christmas trees with hand-crafted ornaments and rooms decked out with evergreen swags, dried flowers and berries, pine cones and milkweed pods.

For the past three decades, Kenosha area residents have been sharing in this period of history at the Durkee Mansion.

In keeping with the historic nature of the home, most of the ornaments on the various trees in the home are handmade or are antiques.


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