‘Twas the Night Before Christmas at 202 South Washington Street

By Jennifer Wolgamott

This poem is a bit of bonus content for 202 South Washington Street. It may be too long to hear during the tour itself, so we wanted to share it now!

T’was the night before Christmas and all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even JB Russell’s spouse.

Throws of labor, bricks and stone in 1890 were placed

Three stories, a basement, four arches with such grace.

The stockings were hung by the 9 fireplaces with care

Who knew in 2022 someone’s stockings would again be there?

Merchant and banker James Russell all snug in his bed

With visions of electric lights and 34 radiators dancing in in his head.

With Mrs. in her kerchief and Mr. in his cap

They dreamed of a coal boiler during their long winter’s nap.

When near and far there arose such a clatter

They jumped from there beds to find out the matter.

It was here, it was there, it was 1,640 feet of iron pipe

The sound was not Christmassy, it was in fact ripe

By the 1980s a boarding house it had been

The thought of which now is a crime and a sin

But that was then, and this is now

The magnificent house had to find 2022 somehow

Away to the window I flew like a flash

To find out who would save it I turned back a wooden sash

When what to my wondering eyes should appear

A diminutive architect, her plans were quite clear

Lifting the house to tomorrow was not for the faint

The wall colors alone took 120 gallons of paint.

640 pieces of slate tile went up on the roof

And 4 brand new heat pumps and condensers is no spoof

With a little elbow grease so lively and quick

One knew in a moment this rehab would do the trick

Slower than eagles the subcontractors came

The architect whistled and shouted and called them by name

When they met with an obstacle, no quarter was given

And 22 historical glass panes add to the comfort of liven.

So, on this magical night the sleigh lands on the new rooftop

With new brick and mortar chimneys, Santa won’t have to stop.

The house is now ready, with nothing to dread

Historically modern with 7 rooms just for bed

The bathrooms, the closets, materials and light fixures

Placed so the old and the new are perfect mixtures.

The jolly old man can go straight to his work

After filling the stockings he can turn with a jerk

And laying a finger aside of his nose

And giving a nod up the chimney he’ll go

And as he ascends just before he goes out of sight

He will say “Merry Christmas to all who renovate and restore, and to all a good night.”

PHW is grateful for the support of The Peter Bullough Foundation, one of our half page advertising sponsors of the Holiday House Tour.