Hartwood mansion decked out for the holidays
The late John and Mary Flinn Lawrence probably never decked the halls of Hartwood Mansion with bugles, flutes and violins.
But the couple might enjoy seeing their living room — the Great Hall — decorated for the holidays with real horns and string instruments on a towering Christmas tree.
“Mrs. Lawrence was a very accomplished pianist and organist. She actually composed a couple pieces of music,” said Berlin Marsh, a docent at the Lawrence's rambling, stone Tudor home.
Tours of the mansion, now awash in beribboned wreaths, shiny ornaments and twinkling lights, are available through Jan. 5.
In addition to music, Mary Flinn Lawrence loved animals and used two cast iron peacocks, placed outdoors, to inform visitors of her availability.
“If they — the peacocks — were facing out, she was seeing visitors. If they were turned to face inward, there were no visitors,” said docent Barb Lamendola, who oversees the mansion's ever-changing seasonal décors.
About 24 volunteers and nine Hartwood staffers gathered one day in November to decorate and wrap Hartwood Mansion in its current Yuletide splendor.
Mary Flinn Lawrence's cast-iron peacocks — now on view for the first time — inspired the Great Hall's music-and-peacocks theme, illustrated by garlands of turquoise organza, vases of real peacock feathers and a tree hung with authentic musical instruments.
Her grandfather — Irish-born John Flinn — inspired this year's holiday theme for the dining room at Hartwood Mansion, decorated by Amber Bierkan and Rainy Scherred, both of Hampton, with help from Sharon Donahue of Beaver County.
St. Patrick — lavishly portrayed in a quilted and appliquéd wall hanging — overlooks the dining room table set for six guests with Mary Flinn Lawrence's Royal Worcester china, engraved silverware and a holly-filled centerpiece with white roses — her favorite flower.
A garland of golden sateen fabric — depicting the road of life — wraps the room's Christmas tree and descends to a pot of golden ornaments on the floor. A Celtic knot — symbolizing the Trinity — tops the tree.
Visitors can view pieces from the Lawrences' many sets of fine china in the adjacent butler's pantry, which connects to the mansion's kitchen, featuring a green porcelain sink.
A modest Charlie Brown-style evergreen, hung with cinnamon sticks, pine cones, apples and crocheted ornaments, decorates the servants' dining room.
“I wanted to keep it simple,” said Toni Hoffman, the wedding coordinator at Hartwood Acres, who decorated the servants' Christmas tree. “It looks like they've gone outside and chopped it down.”
Upstairs, tour takers will visit the Lawrences' separate bedrooms and dressing rooms, plus, the couple's linen room and boot closet, which contains an array of the Lawrences' riding habits, sporting goods and monogrammed luggage.
“It's great that we have so many things of the family,” said Patti Benaglio, Hartwood Mansion's office manager.
John Lawrence's bedroom features a tree decked with vintage Christmas cards and a model of the biplane he once flew, plus, engraved silver trophies won during the 1950s by the Lawrences' accomplished hunter — Donnie B — at Rolling Rock Hunt and Sewickley Hunt horse shows.
Trees of wispy pink feathers flank his wife's white twin bed.
She slept in the bed as a child at her parents' Highland Park home. She brought the bed to Hartwood Acres after the Lawrences built their equestrian estate.
The Friends of Hartwood chose a candy theme — illustrated by garlands of gum drops and bouquets of candy canes — to decorate the mansion's library, traditionally the only room decorated for Christmas by the Lawrences.
Holiday tours of the mansion are available from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and noon to 4 p.m. Sundays, through Jan. 5. Candlelight tours are available 5 to 8 p.m. Dec. 9 and 10. A tour with tea and music is set for 11 a.m. Dec. 7. Admission is $6 for adults ages 18 to 59; $4 for those ages 60 and older; $4 for youths ages 13 to 17; $2 for ages 6 to 12; $1 for children ages 5 and younger; and $33 for the tour with tea and music. Reservations are required for all tours.
Hartwood Mansion is at 200 Hartwood Acres in Indiana Township. For more information, call 412-767-9200.
Deborah Deasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6369 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Photo Gallery: St. Athanasius Parish Festival
- Move in age group nets dividends for Franklin Park tennis player
- Photo Gallery: Marshall Community Day
- Wexford Health-hosted program to raise awareness of food allergies
- Bridge work to close Little Pine Creek Road in Shaler
- Franklin Park woman honored by Lupus Foundation
- Northgate Church members lead mission trip to help poor in West Virginia
- North Hills grad earns ‘principal of the year’ honor
- Zelienople-based skateboard business starting to take off
- NA grad formulates bath, beauty products with natural ingredients