For the holiday season 2011, we changed from our usual Christmas tour. In recognition of the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War, we focused our interpretative tours on Christmas during the Civil War. "A Civil War Christmas" gave guests a chance to see how Christmas traditions were celebrated during the Civil War, from battle front to the home front, and in Northern and Southern families.

Officer's Mess

Sam Lowe, Tom Steele and Robby Cook share a meal in the officer's mess. Guests first met Union officer's at a festive holiday meal.

Photo by Ian Kushnir

Music

As part of the Mess' Celebration, guests were treated to Chirstmas songs of the Civil War era by musician Robby Cook.

Photo by Ian Kushnir

Bevard Interp

Portraying the senior man in this officer's mess, Jeremy Bevard steps out of the first person era of the Civil War and introduces guests to what they are seeing. Tour Guide Lloyd Hevelhorst watches from the rear.

Photo by Ian Kushnir

Candle and Moon

As the sun set, tour guests were treated to two wonderful experiences. First they got to see the way the different interpretative areas looked after dark. Also, they were treated to a full moon rising over the walls of the Star Fort. This is a very rare treat and is a magnificant view. Here, our photographer caught a little of both in the officer's mess impression.

Photo by Ian Kushnir

Barracks life

After meeting the fine officer's mess, guests moved upstairs to meet enlisted personnel who were celebrating the season together in their barracks rooms. They had plenty of newspapers to read and some treats to eat but nowhere near the fine spread of the officers. Here, Pat Price and Sean Collicott discuss the newspapers.

Photo by Ian Kushnir

Carols

Music was as important to Christmas then as now. Here Pat Price and Guy Purdue share the sounds of Christmas with guests after dark falls.

Photo by Ian Kushnir

Will writes

Letters were the primary means of communication with loved ones at home while soldiers were stuck on duty. Will Eichler uses pen and ink to write a letter home.

Photo by Ian Kushnir

the letter

A well caught still life shows the beginning of the letter.

Photo by Ian Kushnir

Lloyd leads tour

After meeting the Union soldiers and officers, it's time to leave the Star Fort and see some other interpretative aresa. Guide Lloyd Hevelhorst answers a few questions before this group moves on.

Photo by Ian Kushnir

Ken Presents

Using the Commandant's House as an interpretative site, Ken Giorlando shares with our guests what Christmas in the City of Detroit was like with so many men gone to support the war effort.

Photo by Ian Kushnir

Civ Music

Before the piano came the foot pedal reed organ. Guests got to hear Christmas Carols off this vintage instrument. Standing are Ken Giorlando (l) and Mike Root. Sandy Root plays the organ.

Photo by Ian Kushnir

Sewing Circle

The ladies continue with hand work while visiting suring the holidays.

Photo by Ian Kushnir

CS Civilians

In a somewhat more austere setting, civilians from the Southern States gather to celebrate the holiday while there men were away. From Left to Right - Sue Lamkin, Dand Lupher, Andy Assemacher and Shelly Calvary.

Photo by Ian Kushnir

Decorated CS tree

A simple Christmas tree decorated as it may have been in Southern States during the Civil War.

Photo by Ian Kushnir

CS impression

Guests then moved to see how Confederate soldiers lived away from their families, if there were fortunate enough to have found a building to stay in.

Photo by Ian Kushnir

Little food

Though good fortune allowed these Confederates indoors, their rations were still simple and sparse.

Photo by Ian Kushnir

Santa

And what Christmas celebration would be complete without Santa and Mrs. Claus? Thanks for coming, Santa!

Photo by Ian Kushnir

Gift Shop

Besides all the interpreters and tour guides, there were MANY Coaliton members who helped make the event a success. Here, members have the Coaliton Store set up at the end of the tour.

Photo by Ian Kushnir