Christmas at the Maplewood House in 1905

Sunday, December 5, 2010 | 3:25 p.m. CST
Thunder Falcon, left, and Leslie Durrant look at physician Frank G. Nifong's original patient records at the Maplewood House on Saturday. The records date back to the early 1900s, and one record even includes a photo of a patient who had his arm amputated by Nifong.

COLUMBIA —  The sound of Christmas carols and male laughter rang throughout the rooms of the Maplewood House on Sunday.

The guided tour of the house, which used to be home to Slater and Margarette Lenoir; their daughter Lavinia; and her husband, Dr. Frank Nifong, led visitors through the different rooms, including the sitting room, where Slater and his friends were playing poker.


The Boone County Historical Society Museum is open Wednesday through Sunday from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. during the winter. Guests can set up special tours by calling the historical society.

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The Maplewood Barn Theater Players and the Boone County Historical Society hosted “A Boone County Christmas” Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. As part of the event, visitors were able to take guided tours of the house and learn about the family and time period from the theater players. The event also included a special visit from Santa on Saturday.

“We built this event on what the historical society has already done,” said Jenifer Flink, executive director and curator of the Boone County Historical Society.

The Maplewood Barn Theater Players portrayed the Lenoirs, the Nifongs and their friends. They were dressed in period costume and described the house as if they were living there. The players did prior research in order to learn about the family and the time period.

“It’s pretty remarkable,” said Molly Dodge, director of the players.

The historical society used to do candlelight tours of the home at Christmas time, but it was time to take a new spin on history and look at things differently, Flink said.

“It’s important to bring a piece of history to Columbia,” said Buffie Balling, chairperson of the Maplewood Committee.

In its second year, “A Boone County Christmas” is set in 1905.

“The romance of the house is its older history,” Flink said.

The original hand-woven carpet is still in place in the upstairs hallway, and all of the original furniture is still in the home.

Built in 1877, the Maplewood House was one of the first in Boone County to have electricity and indoor plumbing. The house was also the first in Boone County to have a vegetable steamer in the kitchen.

Tommy Gay Evans and Diana Provenzano, both of Columbia, said they liked that the event kept Columbia's history alive.

“It was wonderful to see them dressed in costume,” Evans said. “And now I know a little more about the area.”

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