Gill House to host annual Christmas open house and will showcase Gill family Christmas photo


GALION — The Gill House will again be open for a Christmas Open House this holiday season.

This year’s event will take place on Sunday, Dec. 16. from 2-4 p.m. at the landmark house, located at 342 Harding Way West in Galion.

As in the past, the Gill House will be decorated for the season. Visitors will be able to experience the sights, sounds, smells, and even flavors of Christmas as they view trees and other displays.

A special treat is in store during the Open House with the ability to view a replica of an actual Gill family Christmas scene. Earlier this year, Preserving Galion, Inc. received the gift of several dozen digital photos of family pictures from Gill descendants living in Oregon and Colorado. Included among those amazing pictures are a handful taken inside the Gill House during the time that the Gills lived in the house, from its completion in 1904 to the mid-1920s.

One of those photos was of a Christmas scene, complete with tree and toys. From the image, the exact location of the display was determined and volunteers have replicated the scene as it was, more than 100 years after the photo was taken.

Also visible is restoration work which has taken place in the last several months, as well as two period light fixtures installed in the house which were a recent gift from the owners of the Howard House.

There is no admission charge for the Open House, although donations will be warmly accepted. Visitors are asked to dress warmly, as some of the house remains unheated. Guests also are asked to use the back door.

The Gill House was built between 1902-04 as the residence for the family of Bloomer and Nellie Stewart Gill. It is the second Gill House on the same site, the first having been constructed about 1845, and 2018 marks the 200th anniversary of the Gills’ arrival in Galion. The house was designed by nationally noted architect Louis Kamper and remains his sole surviving commission of its style. It was also visited by family friends Thomas Alva Edison and Henry Ford; extended family members also included the developer of the zip code system for US mail and the Oscar-winning playwright for movies like The Philadelphia Story with Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, and Jimmy Stewart.
Picture from early 1900s will be replicated