Do you yearn for a simpler time? As the Christmas season draws near, do you wish to go back into the past? If you long to ride in a horse-drawn carriage, buy hard rock candy at the general store, or see simple yet elegant Christmas decorations as they may have looked in yesteryear, the ultimate way to start your Christmas celebration would be to visit Old City Park during the "Candlelight Tour."
Drive to Dallas, Texas, follow the brown highway exit sign from either freeway 75 or 30 that will direct you to the 14 acre park. Discover the recreated village of restored historic buildings from Dallas and North Central Texas. An old-fashioned holiday experience that you will long remember awaits.
As Christmas music fills the air, stroll the candlelit streets of Old City Park. Hear the clip-clopping sound of horses on the dirt path as the horse-drawn carriage travels nearby. Hear the joyous sounds of jingle bells ringing on the horses' harnesses. The wafting aroma of popcorn thru the crisp evening air will entice you to the popcorn wagon.
If you delight in shopping, the general store, built in 1907, and the McCall's Merchandise, built in 1904, will intrigue you with old-fashioned Christmas toys and decorations to candy and flower seeds. Sample the sugar and spiced nuts or find something unique for everyone on your Christmas list.
After shopping, visit the Print Shop. The printer demonstrates the hand press and typeset machines that were used in a bygone area. Walk down the cobblestone street to Citizen's Bank where the dentist shared the bank building.
You will be immersed in the spirit of another time. Watch candles being made from paraffin and bees' wax in the Miller house.
Approaching the Millermore, the large white antebellum house, imagine that you are entering TARA in "Gone With The Wind." As you enter, the warm, comforting holiday music welcomes you. In the parlor, members of the American Harp Society of Dallas play on the harp. The red velvet curtains from the high ceiling to floor will catch your eye along with the antique furnishings and the piano with a violin placed on top.
Across from the parlor, the Christmas tree fills the center of the family room. While in the hallway, the staircase is trimmed with a velvet ribbon chain and bow. Home entertainment emphasized feasting and music, and you will find the dining room that is beautifully set for a family feast.
Exiting Millermore, hot spiced tea and cookies can be purchased. Walk under the grape arbor to one of the picnic tables to relax. In the cold evening air, the hot spiced tea is perfect before you move along on your tour.
Don't miss George's house. This gingerbread-trimmed house built in 1901 was a wedding gift to Mrs. George from her husband. The electricity was strictly used for lighting. A wood-burning stove was used in the kitchen. George's house will surely remind you of your grandmother's home or perhaps a great aunt's home that you have fond memories of.
Visit the turn-of-the-century doctor's office. The examining room is sparse but functional with the apothecary in the next room. The doctor would mix his own prescriptions from the many ingredients. The doctor's office is decorated with magnolia branches trimmed with popcorn garland.
As you leave the doctor's office, the roar of the cannon goes off and the smell of gun powder permeates the military encampment. The Civil War soldiers are camped with their white tents along the path to the Renner school and the church.
With the Christmas glow spreading across Old City Park, the Salvation Army Band sings in the church. Press your face to the window to see inside the church or sit on the pews and join in the singing of Christmas hymns and carols.
Step into the log house. The cozy warm fireplace was the only light at night. The family would sit around the fireplace was the only light at night. The family would sit around the fireplace telling stories and tall tales about Pecos Bill.
In the log house kitchen, pioneer dressed ladies demonstrated the art of cooking chicken in an open hearth while the smell of gingerbread baking in the open hearth fills the room.
Not far from the log house, the blacksmith pumps the bellows. Watch him at work, heating and pounding the iron into nails and horseshoes.
After the walk around the park, you will definitely be hungry. Stop by the Hoblitzelle Pavillion tent. At the tent, the menu of food is representative of the six flags that have flown over Texas. If you want dessert and a hot beverage, the Brent Place restaurant will appeal to you with mouth watering apple mincemeat with brandy sauce and for the kids Santa's delight (chocolate cake with peppermint holiday icing).
During the four days in December, the homes and buildings are decorated for Christmas with the materials that were available in the 19th century. Crafts and musical and dramatic presentations make Old City Park come alive.
Make the "Candlelight Tour" a part of your annual Christmas celebration. With the Dallas skyline looking down over Old City Park, you will see where you have been, where you are and get a better perspective of the future. Nowhere else can you transcend the spirit of Christmas past, present, and future. Christmas is a living celebration, and you can experience a rebirth at Old City Park. You are not constrained by history during the "Candlelight Tour" but inspired by it.
Author's notes: Old City Park is now called Dallas Heritage Village. Some things probably have changed over the years; however, it's like stepping back into time with both residential and commercial buildings from the 19th century. In checking DHV's current event calendar, there isn't a Candlelight Tour scheduled for 2021. Thank you for reading and traveling back to a Christmas past!
If you enjoyed the snapshot of the Christmas Spirt from 1988, please heart. Greatly appreciate!
About the Creator
Barbara J Iversen, also known as Babs Iverson, lives in Texas and loves her grandkids to the moon and back. After writing one story, she found that writing has many benefits especially during a pandemic and a Texas-size Arctic Blast.