GT-37 Ladies Progressive Victorian Tea

On Tuesday, approximately 30 ladies took the Ladies Progressive Victorian Tea tour to three historic homes in Dayton. We were greeted in the lobby by host, Adrienne Lange, from the Southwestern Ohio MG Car Club, and were taken by bus to the first location.

Patterson HomesteadOur first stop was the Federal style Patterson Homestead. This was the home of the historic Revolutionary War veteran and founding father of Lexington, Kentucky, Colonel Robert Patterson. Members of the influential Patterson family occupied the homestead from 1810 to 1904. The Homestead serves as a memorial to the Patterson family and was the birthplace of John and Frank Patterson, the Colonel’s grandsons and co-founders of the National Cash Register Company in 1884.

Patterson Ladies

At each stop on the tour, ladies wearing dresses from the Victorian period greeted us. The hosts explained the types of clothing worn during this period. There were “day” dresses with long-sleeved blouses and high necks, eventually, corsets, crinolines, bustles, lace collars and gloves were introduced to women’s wear. Tea gowns included “hoops” under their skirts. They demonstrated the proper way to sit down in a chair when wearing hoops.

The ladies served our first course of tea on the tour with assorted breads, including scones. We had our choice of hot or cold tea or lemonade (which was delicious).

Dunbar HouseOur next stop was the Paul Laurence Dunbar House. Dunbar was a childhood friend and classmate of the Wright Brothers, Orville and Wilbur. He was the first African-American poet to gain national distinction as a poet. Dunbar wrote novels, plays, short stories and lyrics. He published over 400 poems and was the first African American to be accepted by the discipline of American Literature. When he became ill with tuberculosis he purchased this home for his mother, Matilda. He lived with her for two years before his death. Several original furnishings remain in the home including the original Remington typewriter that he used for his writings. After touring the home and museum, we were served our choice of tea with small sandwiches.

Hawthorn HillOur final stop was Hawthorn Hill, the mansion built by the Wright Brothers following their successful development of the aeroplane. They intended for the mansion to be their joint home, but Wilbur died in 1912, before the home was completed in 1914. Orville and family lived here until 1948. Charles A. Lindbergh visited Orville after his 1927 solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean.

The home’s interior still has original furnishings, including Orville’s personal study. When he became ill and was unable to hold his book to read, he drilled a hole in the arm his favorite chair and made a book rest so he could prop his book up for reading. The chair remains in his study.

We enjoyed our tea on the beautiful, breezy portico of the home, overlooking a lovely green lawn and huge trees. Vases of hydrangeas adorned each table. Again we were served our choice of teas, cookies and teacakes with fresh fruit.

Ladies Tea GroupA lovely afternoon and great company. Thanks to our GT-37 hosts for making this day a memorable occasion with lots of history to help us appreciate our past.

Postscript: As we were leaving Dayton on Friday, we decided to visit Woodland Cemetery and Arboretum, the final resting place for Wilbur and Orville Wright and poet Paul Laurence Dunbar. Woodland is one of the country’s five oldest “garden cemeteries” and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is located on a hill that overlooks the city of Dayton. The Arboretum has more than 3,000 trees. One of which is the Ginkgo Biloba tree – I don’t recall seeing a ginkgo tree before this trip (never really took the time to notice) but the fan-shaped scalloped leaves are unique.

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Reader Comments (1)

Picture of Bruce G. Rauch
Bruce G. Rauch (Saint Petersburg, FL)
on July 29, 2012 3:28pm
I loved the tea and I LOVED THIS ARTICLE!!!

RoBERTa Rauch

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Last updated on July 28, 2012.