If you want to experience a breathtakingly beautiful home decorated for the holidays, tour the Seiberling Mansion in Kokomo.
With 20 rooms and just about that many Christmas trees the home that was built during Kokomo’s gas boom in late 1800s is practically a castle.
In its early years the house was used as a private residence. Later, it became part of the Indiana University campus in Kokomo. When a new campus was built in town in the 1960s, the house sat abandoned until 1972 when the Howard County Historical Society renovated it and opened it as a museum.
What immediately struck my husband and me as we arrived to tour the Seiberling was its immense front porch! Seriously, it would be large enough to host a good-sized class reunion– in warmer weather of course!
At Christmas the Seiberling is adorned with holiday décor on three floors. As if the period antiques and various types of wood trim in the house are not impressive enough— oak, cherry, Red oaks, even on the ceiling! – the lights, boughs of greenery and often whimsical bits of nostalgic holiday touches make it seem like an inviting place to curl up before a fire and listen to melodies on the piano in the music room.
The second floor contains bedrooms and collections of Kokomo’s automotive history (Chrysler, Hupmobile and Delco plants have been located there). Informative cue cards are helpful throughout the building with displays and unique parts of the structure, including the Butler’s pantry. Think Downton Abbey!
The third floor was where people played–I should say danced–as the house has its own ballroom. How smart was that, especially since Seiberling’s two daughters had their wedding receptions in the ballroom!
Today, the ballroom contains a military display of items from citizens of Kokomo. There is also a charming miniature town that replicates Kokomo during the Seiberling’s heyday during the gas boom.
One other item I found interesting that is not holiday-related in the mansion is the unusual phonograph player. If you remember ugly square cases for record players, you’ll appreciate the elegant way this one is housed – in the back of this pseudo baby grand!
Parking is along the side of the building. Self-guided tours are available or by a museum official for a fee. There is a small gift shop. This would be a fun place to take a ladies group, family outing or history group.
The Seiberling Mansion/Howard County Historical Museum is located west of downtown Kokomo.
December hours: Tuesday-Sunday 1-4 pm
The mansion is closed in January and re-opens in February.
Senior Citizens (60+): $4
Children 12 and under: $2.00
1200 West Sycamore Street
While downtown, stop for a bite at
305 South Main Street
Cook McDoogal’s Irish Pub
100 North Main Street
107 West Sycamore Street