Historic Helena home decorated for the holidays

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Posted at 2:20 PM, Dec 04, 2021

HELENA — COVID-19 canceled many things last year, including some holiday traditions.

This year, many of those traditions are coming back, including the opportunity to see a historic Montana home all decked out.

The Montana Historical Society decked the halls of the original governor's mansion in Helena to bring a little holiday cheer to a historic building.

"Brings the house another dimension. It brings it to life for the holidays," said Anthony Schrillo, Montana Historical Society history interpreter.

The mansion was built in 1888 and holds the stories of the families and governors that lived in 304 North Ewing St. in Helena. And sprucing the place with holiday decorations every year, Schrillo says, takes tour guests back in time.

"Well, you know, we think about our visitors, and they're in the Christmas spirit. And I think when they come here, the house has quite a bit of history to it, but it gets down to the stories of the people that lived here. And I think when they can hear those they can identify with their own lives and it just kind of spurs the imagination," said Schrillo.

The mansion has two large Christmas trees, one in the parlor and one upstairs in what would have been a ballroom, with miniature trees adorned in various rooms. Wreaths and garlands decorate the outside.

Schrillo says each room in the house feels like a step back in time.

"When you walk into a room like the parlor and tell people the room was used for entertaining well, they could imagine people seated in conversation or even on the third floor one time it was used as a ballroom, so imagine musicians playing and having dances up there," said Schrillo.

One thing is missing, though,

"Some snow that will complete the atmosphere," said Schrillo.

Free tours are on a first-come, first-served basis with a limited capacity to 15 people. The times for tours are every Saturday from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The tours will not be available on Christmas Day.