Kick off the holiday season right this year and make plans to attend the Trail End Holiday Open House in Sheridan. This three-day event celebrates the season with live music and tasty treats served up in a historically elegant atmosphere complete with all the traditional trappings of the holidays.
An annual tradition for over twenty-five years, the Open House is scheduled for December 7-9, at the Trail End State Historic Site. Sponsored by the Trail End Guilds, Inc., the event features live entertainment and holiday decorations throughout the spectacular 1913 mansion. Open House hours are 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. each day. Admission is $2 for adults. Children are admitted at no charge, but must be accompanied by an adult.
Trail End – a 14,000 square foot brick mansion overlooking Sheridan’s Kendrick Park – is decorated from Thanksgiving through mid-December (open daily from 1 to 4 p.m. for self-guided tours). Seven ornately decorated trees stand throughout the house, from the Drawing Room to the Ballroom. Windows and staircases are draped with garlands and ribbons, while potted poinsettias enhance nearly every horizontal surface.
One major attraction of the Open House is the live music, with a different act featured each hour. This year’s schedule is as follows (subject to last-minute changes):
Friday, December 7
4:00 p.m. – Barbara Campbell (piano)
5:00 p.m. – Cathy Storm (pump organ)
6:00 p.m. – Micah & Julie (guitar & vocal duet)
Saturday, December 8
4:00 p.m. – Canary Joe (jazz vocal/instrumental)
5:00 p.m. – Juliet’s Muse (instrumental ensemble)
6:00 p.m. – Methodist Handbell Choir (instrumental ensemble)
Sunday, December 9
4:00 p.m. – Sheridanaires (vocal ensemble)
5:00 p.m. – Patchwork Singers (vocal ensemble)
6:00 p.m. – Just Harmony (vocal ensemble)
Guided tours of the mansion, home of former Wyoming Governor and United States Senator John B. Kendrick, are also offered during the Open House. Conducted by Trail End staff and volunteers, the tours feature the history of the house and grounds, plus a look at what the holidays were like earlier in the Twentieth Century.
In the mansion’s historic kitchen, Trail End staff and volunteers will serve up tasty seasonal treats. This year, hot, spiced cider is paired with delicious homemade Figgy Pudding – a holiday tradition at Trail End.
In addition to Trail End’s regularly displayed furnishings – nearly all original to the house – many additional Kendrick family items are included in the annual holiday exhibit. Visitors have an opportunity to see toys, sleds, skates, dishes, and Christmas cards from the 1910s, 20s and 30s, as well as a nativity scene made in Germany prior to World War Two, and an old-fashioned “feather” tree.
This year’s focus exhibit is “The Ad Made Me Buy It: The Power of Advertising in the Early Twentieth Century.” The whole-house panel exhibit explores the art and science of advertising, and how potential consumers were influenced by the ads placed in their reading material.
The Holiday Open House is nearly the last opportunity for visitors to enjoy the historic site this year. Trail End is closed during the winter months, from December 15, through March 31.
Over the winter, staff will be busy updating the site’s interpretive panels. The current exhibit will be replaced by a special exhibit celebrating the 100th anniversary of Trail End’s occupation by the Kendrick family (John, Eula, Manville and Rosa-Maye Kendrick moved into the house on July 27, 1913). Keep an eye open for more information on upcoming centennial activities.
The Trail End State Historic Site is located at 400 Clarendon Avenue in Sheridan (exit 23 off Interstate 90; turn onto Fifth Street; then left onto Clarendon). Parking for the Open House is available on Delphi, Clarendon and Victoria Streets. Limited handicapped parking is available in the circular drive between the Kendrick Mansion and the Carriage House Theater. An elevator provides access to the upper and lower floors for the mobility challenged.
Trail End is operated by the State Parks, Historic Sites and Trails Division of the Wyoming Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources. For more information on the Trail End State Historic Site, the Holiday Open House or the Trail End Guilds, phone 307-674-4589, or visit their website at www.trailend.org.