By: Diane Watters, Assistant Director, E. B. and Bertha C. Ball Center—
Muncie, IN—Each year, the E.B. and Bertha C. Ball Center hosts a Holiday Open House as a part of Minnetrista’s Enchanted Luminaria Walk. During this 2-day event, guests can tour all three floors of the beautifully decorated Ball family home, listen to musicians, and see local artisans at no cost. This is just one event that the center hosts to preserve the Ball family history and to recognize their contributions to our community.
If you were unable to come November 30th or December 1st this year, below is a quick rundown of what you missed.
As you entered the mansion, your eyes would have been immediately drawn to the warmth and ambiance of the living room. (pictured above.) It was filled with needlepoint ornaments, decorative pillows, pictures, and Santas, all of which were stitched by local women led by Linda Burkhardt, owner of Elegant Needleworks. Seventeen of these women crafted the 154 ornaments that were on the 9-foot tree.
You would have also noticed that the entrances to the living room were roped off. In 2015, Robert Ball and Nancy Keilty (the son and daughter of Ed and Virginia Ball) donated the original FarahanSaroukPersian rug (circa 1880-1890) that originally lay in the living room. Because of its age and museum quality, the room is closed to foot traffic.
Two years later, Barbara Morris Goodbody, granddaughter of E.B. and Bertha C. Ball, donated a similar Farahan Sarouk Persian rug, that originally lay in the library.
Another breathtaking sight was the Patriotic Tree on the landing in front of the two-story stained-glass window. This 12-foot tree, designed by Heath Stanhope, was inspired by the Muncie Exchange Club’s annual “1,000 Flags of Honor” held every September during Patriots’ Day week at Minnetrista. The Exchange Club donated the flags and the labels for the ribbons. The yellow ribbons, donated by Normandy Flower Shop, included the names of local veterans.
Jean McCauley, a local artist and E.B. and Bertha C. Ball Center patron, said, “I thoroughly enjoyed the Open House Friday night and was so delighted by the astonishing beauty of the decorations for this special time of year. I feel very privileged to be able to walk in the E.B. Ball home at any time during the year, but the Christmas holiday is truly magical. The Patriotic Tree was particularly poignant and touching, and I was extremely grateful to have my nephew, Casey Worth, included and remembered. My heart is saddened with his passing, but keeping his memory alive and sharing his name on your tree has been a blessing to my family and to me. Thank you to all who have worked tirelessly on this outstanding gift to our community. It is the highlight of the Open House and very much appreciated.”
Velvet Wall, also commented on the Patriotic Tree,“We love coming to the open house to appreciate the beauty of the home and its historical value to our community. We especially enjoyed sharing the names of our local service members this year and the wonderful opportunity to highlight their service.”
Stanhope’s children, Abbey, Ashlea, Hannah, and Holden, along with family friend Lexi Mann, decorated the first floor library and dining room in vintage pastels. The library featured a Department 56 Dickens Village collection. The other two floors were equally as dazzling as the first floor and they were decorated by community volunteers.
On the third floor, you would have found more than children lining up in front of the Sock Monkey tree to get their pictures taken by their parents; you’d find beaded ornaments made by Pamala Williams, Raggedy Ann dolls stitched by Judy Reffitt, and carvings by the Munsee Woodcarvers. Their exhibits are a Holiday Open House tradition.
Friday night, Dale Basham and Rebecca Bly entertained guests by singing songs of the season from 6-8 p.m., followed by the White River Recorder Society the last hour. Jim Rhinehart, Assistant Professor of Music Theory at Ball State University, played Christmas favorites on the Ball family’s original Steinway piano Saturday evening.
The gorgeous fresh flower arrangements that adorned the first floor were donated by Buck Creek in Bloom, Foister’s Flowers and Gifts, The Flower Bin, Lazy Daisy, Miller’s Flower Shop, Misty’s House of Flowers, and Normandy Flower Shop. The flowers were seen by the nearly 4,000 guests who walked through the house during the weekend.
First-time visitor Becky Spears commented, “The house was stunning! I enjoyed seeing the craftsmanship displayed in the home from the intricate woodworking and flooring details to the substantial staircase to the delicate stained glass. The Christmas trees and decorations were tastefully done. The musicians added to the ambiance, giving visitors the feeling of going back in time to an era of the mansion’s beginnings.”
The E.B. and Bertha C. Ball Center is the community enrichment unit of Ball State University, whose ongoing mission is to provide stimulating intellectual opportunities for those from the university and East Central Indiana communities. Next year’s Holiday Open House is scheduled for Friday, December 6, and Saturday, December 7, 6-9 p.m.
For more information about programs offered at the E.B. and Bertha C. Ball Center, call 765-285-8975 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.