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For nearly 200 years, this historic Petersburg mansion has helped ring in the holidays

Posted at 10:10 PM, Dec 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-07 23:35:30-05

PETERSBURG, Va. -- For nearly two centuries, one house in Petersburg has witnessed the holiday season ring in. The home has a long lineage, including U.S. presidents and dignitaries.

The house, known as Centre Hill Mansion, has sat majestically on a hill for the past 199 years. Its true greatness comes out to shine during the holiday season.

"It's just a captivating experience to be able to be here and to hear the stories of the quests that have been here for years and years," Cody Hanshew, one of the decorators of the home, said.

Cody understands that when people think of Christmas, it's usually from memories. The home may have been built in 1823, but Cody said the design for his room dates back more than 2,000 years to the journey of the wise men. The focal point of the room is a 12-foot tree.

For nearly 200 years, this historic Petersburg mansion has helped ring in the holidays

"So on the tree, you'll find fabulous items of gold and crowns and camel ornaments and stars and then underneath the tree, you'll actually find the gifts that the kinds actually brought to Bethlehem," Hanshew said.

The mansion, which has its rooms decorated by local designers, is now open to the public every weekend to enjoy.

"A few years ago, we started with the designers coming in and adding their special flavor, you know, to the house and I think it's really enhanced the beauty of the home over the years," Brian Silver, a mansion volunteer, said.

Pointing to a specific room, Cody notes one what designer understands when people think of the holidays - the food.

"It's actually a collection of dinnerware that he's collected over the years that people have passed on to him. It's all been pulled out and displayed, both on the dinner table, on the buffet, around the room, all through the China cabinets. It's all his own personal collection," Hanshew said.

For nearly 200 years, this historic Petersburg mansion has helped ring in the holidays

While the house was built in 1823, it has undergone some changes in architecture. Visitors to the home can walk the same floors as the 16th and 27th presidents.

"Abraham Lincoln visited this home on April 7, 1865. Taft was here in 1909," Silver said.

In another room, the designers set aside the season's usual silver and gold for blue.

"Something that sets us apart is we've actually branched out and we welcome anyone and everyone to come and be a designer and I absolutely love being able to see an amazing and beautiful sign of Hanukah here inside of this historical home," Hanshew said.

For nearly 200 years, this historic Petersburg mansion has helped ring in the holidays

A step into the home's music room pays homage to the White House.

"I love that the designer has went with a cocktail party flare, so you will see the decor has a little bit of a twist to it and it's actually inspired by some previous White House decor," Hanshew said.

Both the downstairs and the upstairs of the house are decorated with each designer adding a personal touch to their idea of what they can remember about the holidays.