Historical society, local theater team up for Christmas event

Friday, December 11, 2009 | 5:00 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — Maplewood Barn Community Theatre and the Boone County Historical Society are hosting Christmas at Maplewood Farm on Saturday.

Actors from the theater will dress and perform as members of the Nifong and Lenoir families, said Michael Scott, president of the theater's board.

If you go

What: Christmas at Maplewood Farm

When: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday 

Where: Maplewood House, Nifong Park, 2900 E. Nifong Blvd.

Tickets: $3-$6

Information: Go to

"We're working in conjunction with the Historical Society to put on, essentially, a re-enactment of the turn-of-the-century period, shortly after the Maplewood area was first settled," Scott said.

Scott will play Dr. Frank Nifong, an influential figure in Columbia history. Nifong helped develop the surgical program at the MU Medical School. In 1900, he married Lavinia Lenoir, whose parents had built the Maplewood Home in 1877.

"(Frank) and Lavinia donated 320 acres of land for the Lenoir Retirement Community, and on Lavinia's death, land was donated to the city of Columbia for this park," said Jennifer Flink, executive director of the Boone County Historical Society. "So they're a big deal."

Flink said the actors did a good amount of research to prepare for their roles.

"They're going to recreate actual members of the family and bring them to life. That's method acting," she said.

Tours will be given of Maplewood Home every hour from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and visitors can see actors portraying family members in rooms of the house.

The two groups began discussing the collaboration over the summer and would like put on more of these types of events in the future.

"We started talking about this about six months ago to discuss how we could celebrate the home and what it's meant—all the wonderful work the historical society has done to keep this home together, to manage it and maintain it," Scott said.

There will also be events at the society's museum, including Santa and his elves, a craft corner for kids and a new exhibit in the art gallery, "Facets of Glass."

Both Flink and Scott said they hoped the event would celebrate Columbia's history.

"The more we can do together is good for the city and gives residents an idea of where things came from," Scott said.

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