24th Annual Rooms to View House Tour: “Truly Historic” Homes Abound

May 3rd, 2016Press Release from Historic Bethlehem Museums and Sites

High St. PatioBETHLEHEM, PA., May 2, 2016, – Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites invites you to the 24th annual Rooms to View House Tour on Saturday, June 4, 2016 from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. with a wine and cheese reception at the 1752 Apothecary Garden from 4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Visit some of the area’s most inspiring homes, gardens, patios, and kitchens and discover the diverse architecture Bethlehem’s truly historic homes.

This celebration of homes commences with the Preview Soirée on Friday, June 3, 2016 from 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. at a gracious Saucon Valley home. This home, known affectionately as Foxfield by the family that has occupied it for the last forty years, was built in 1955. Foxfield rests on five acres of land that was formerly an apple orchard, and later developed by Bethlehem Steel as part of their “Saucon Valley Farm Orchard” subdivision for executives of the corporation. 

Guests will enjoy cocktails and hors d’oeuvres prepared by Karen Hunter, homegrown appetizers fashioned from the harvest of their spring garden, and music by the Nancy Coletti Trio as they take in classic American antiques, charming English gardens, and exquisite, original artwork mostly in the Queen Anne and Chippendale style. The “Recumbent Stag,” a reclining cast zinc deer with head held high and front hooves tucked under made by J. W. Fiske Iron Works, will be one of many pieces guests will view. The expansive landscape boasts a swimming pool, English gardens, brick terraces, a fountain, and flowering trees and shrubs thanks to developer, Frederick W.G. Peck of Philadelphia.

New this year will be:

On Saturday, the restored 1752 Apothecary will be featured as a stop on the House Tour.  Here, guests will explore two centuries of early Moravian medical artifacts and delight in the bright, floral artifacts of our newest exhibition, Apothecary in Bloom. 

The 1752 Apothecary will also host the end of tour wine and cheese reception. During the reception, guests will admire the freshly planted garden filled with herbs and medicinal plants that would have been used by early Moravian medicinal practitioners while sipping on such colonial-inspired drinks as Hippocras, a white wine infused with citrus and spices, along with other colonial refreshments.

Coordinating the Apothecary Garden Reception is Erica Patton with Leesa Wimmer assisting with the garden. Leesa Wimmer, a Penn State Master Gardener in Training and Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites’ volunteer, has been working to rejuvenate the Apothecary Garden while Erica Patton, a local, colonial herbalist with a penchant for medicinal horticulture, has crafted a menu heavily influenced by the Apothecary and the colonial era.

The menu includes:

  • Pickled Grapes
  • Assorted Cheeses from Valley Milkhouse
  • Crackers made with Foraged Herbs
  • Local Honey
  • Assorted Charcuterie
  • Candied Angelica
  • Honey Cookies
  • Hippocras (White wine infused with citrus & spices)
  • Switchel (non-alcoholic beverage made with water, ginger, honey, maple syrup, lemon, & shrub)
  • Bottled Water

Sneak a peek at the historic residences on this year’s House Tour:

Begin your tour in the heart of Bethlehem’s renowned Historic District, this backyard oasis boasts gardens, landscaping and a pool for complete relaxation and entertaining in splendid style.

Meander over to Main Street where this historic building is nestled. Built in 1891 by George H. Myers, prominent businessman and mayor of Bethlehem, this late Victorian Chateau-esque style building was designed by Willis G. Hale a well-known Philadelphia architect. Features of note include a terra cotta tiled Mansard roof with a center tower, Roman style brick work on the Main St. façade, center pivot windows and bottled glass transom windows. The third floor apartment was designed by architect Barry Pell and interior designer Paul Mackerer, including custom furniture and cabinetry.

Pop by the Kemerer Garden, located next to and behind the Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts, for light refreshments. Scott Rotherberger designed this space to be drought tolerant and provide a venue for a sculpture garden that complements the architectural elements of the site for the enjoyment of museum visitors. Skip Kralik’s steel sculptures currently call the Kemerer Garden home. Comprised of two terraces and a pergola, this garden is full of a variety of native plants. Trace your House Tour tracks with our Early Bethlehem map exhibit, Bethlehem By Design, currently on display at the Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts. 

A late 1880’s Victorian on East Market Street represents the eclectic spirit of the late Victorian era when the lines between traditional styles was beginning to blur. The body of the house, tall and elongated, is most reminiscent of the Second Empire Style while the full width one story front porch speaks to the Stick Style popular from 1860 to 1890. To add a sense of elegance to the house, two-story ornate Italianate bay windows flank the main red brick structure and an expansive back porch with square lattice walls, a late 20th century addition, allows sunshine and breezes to filter through so that occupants may enjoy nature in the sumptuous Victorian manner. 

Around the corner on High Street, this Victorian Carriage House is part of the “Weiss Estate” and was originally built in 1870 to house horse-drawn carriages. It has been fully restored and painted to match the main house which was designed as a single family Second-Empire Victorian mansion-style home.  The south side of the Carriage House entrance was beautifully renovated to include a patio and breakfast area and allow for unobstructed views of the grounds.

Travel over to Carter Road and discover impressive history behind this home. The deed to this stone farmhouse dates back to 1795 and is signed by John Penn the Elder and John Penn the Younger, both descendants of William Penn. The Penn family most likely acquired the land the home sits on from the Lenape Indians during the Walking Purchase of 1737. Operating as a working farm until the 1960’s, previous owners describe a large barn, numerous outbuilding, fields and orchards spanning 120 acres.  The architecture and design elements incorporate both Moravian and German influences of simple symmetry and clean lines both inside and out.

Admission to the Preview Soirée is $85 and includes Saturday’s tour. Tickets for the House Tour are $40 for non-Historic Bethlehem Museum & Sites members and $30 for members when purchased in advance.  Admission to the Apothecary Garden Reception is included in the tour.  Tickets are available at the Historic Bethlehem Museum & Sites Visitor Center & Museum Store, located at 505 Main Street, or online at HistoricBethlehem.org.  For more information, to purchase tickets and to learn about volunteer opportunities call 1-800-360-TOUR. 

All proceeds from this event help Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites to maintain 20 historic landmarks in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.


Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites is a not-for-profit institution that brings to life three centuries of American history.  Historic Bethlehem tells the story of a small town of great influence, home to some of our nation’s earliest settlers, to America’s first municipal water pumping system, and to one of the world’s greatest industrial companies.  Historic Bethlehem is located in eastern Pennsylvania, only a 1.5 hour drive from Philadelphia to the North and 2 hours west of New York City.  Historic Bethlehem is an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution and a National Historic Landmark District.


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