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December 3, 2013 > A Shinn House Christmas

A Shinn House Christmas

Submitted By Al Minard

James & Lucy Shinn with their son Charles came to California in 1856. LucyÕs brother Dr. Joseph Clark had purchased 250 acres of land with a small cabin, which he offered to James and Lucy at a reasonable price. Nine years later, right after the end of the Civil War, they started construction on what they called the ÒBig HouseÓ, and indeed it was. Their original cabin was about 500 square feet including a sleeping loft, but no indoor bathroom or kitchen. The ÒBig HouseÓ ended up being three floors with a basement and about 7,000 square feet of living area. The ÒBig HouseÓ was finished in 1876 at its current location, 1251 Peralta Boulevard, Fremont and has been lived in by four generations of the Shinn family. It was donated to the City of Fremont, who took possession after Florence Shinn passed away in 1971.

Mission Peak Heritage Foundation manages, provides tours and decorates the house for Christmas just as the ShinnÕs might have in the late 1890Õs (although now we have running water and electricity). Freshly cut cedar, pine and redwood wreaths for the windows are made on the first Saturday after Thanksgiving and greenery throughout the house adds fragrance and color. A large Christmas tree in the front parlor is decorated with popcorn strings and candles as it would have been in the late 1890Õs. To celebrate the season and spirit of Shinn House, costumed docents will lead special holiday tours of the first and second floor on December 6, 7, 8 and 13. Refreshments will be served in the Archive room where visitors can view Shinn memorabilia and chat with the docents. A gift shop offers unusual gifts for that special person.

Go back in time and experience Christmas spirit from years gone by with a visit to FremontÕs historic Shinn House. Docent led tours are $5 for adults and $2.50 for children ages 7-13.

Shinn Christmas Open House
Friday, Dec 6 - Friday, Dec 13
Fridays, Dec 6 and 13: 7 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Saturday, Dec 7 and Sunday, Dec 8: Noon - 4 p.m.
Shinn Historical Park and Arboretum
1251 Peralta Blvd., Fremont
(Just west of Mowry Ave.)
(510) 795-0891

Tickets: $5 adults, $2.50 children

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