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Local third-graders 'wowed' by Honeywell House Tour

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Photos by Andrew Maciejewski/Wabash Plain DealerSILVER: Nan Roe explains the difference between pieces of a formal dining table,includinga fish knife and salad fork, which most kids had never seen before.
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SILVER: Nan Roe explains the difference between pieces of a formal dining table,includinga fish knife and salad fork, which most kids had never seen before.

by ANDREW MACIEJEWSKI - amaciejewski@wabashplaindealer.com

Nearly 300 local third graders could hardly believe their eyes and ears as they made their way through the Honeywell House, examining and inquiring about the objects they’ve never seen before.

Wabash volunteers working with the Women’s Committee of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra opened the doors to the Honeywell home for the fourteenth time, yesterday and today, giving tours to students from O.J. Neighbours, Metro North, Southwood, St. Bernard and Emanuel Christian elementary schools. The students studied the history of the Honeywell family before their tour, which has been designed to compliment educational requirements that students learn about local history.

“My goal is to give them a broader picture of Mrs. Honeywell, and I ask that they help me figure that out by looking at the titles of the books or perhaps the style of the artwork and so on,” said Andrea Schuler, a volunteer tour guide. “It’s always very fun.”

Children mimicked a candelabra, which they had never seen before, as Nan Roe explained the silver decorations on display in the dining room. Roe told the children how to use proper etiquette by showing them how to eat a multi-course meal by using the silverware on the outside and working inward.

Mrs. Honeywell never served the same meal twice as she entertained guests from around the world, Roe said. Children examined the antique china and tried their best to keep their hands off the intricate porcelain, silver and trinkets around he house.

Some children’s mouths remained open as Roe explained how to use a fish knife or showed them how small a salad fork looked. The kids said they had never seen anything like it before.

The children looked at a mahogany barometer from 1850 and thought the large dial was a clock, but Susan Beckett explained the differences between the two tools. She also showed off the Asian influence in artwork around the solarium.

The students took five minute turns making their way through the drawing room, solarium, entry hall, Honeywell suite, east bedroom, west bedroom, ribbon room, kitchen, dining room and the library.

When they made it to the Honeywell suite, Lana Garber told the students about how Mrs. Honeywell passed away in 1974.

Eugenia Honeywell was famous here for her international taste, showcased on Wednesday’s tour.

Children were exposed to parquet teakwood flooring, a Louis XV bronze 16-light Parisian chandelier, an English mahogany settee in the Sheraton Style, a pair of gilded French candelabras and an Empire style rosewood melodeon dating to 1850 that Mrs. Honeywell would play.