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Home for the holidays

Historic Moline houses are all decked out for Christmas

Once again, Christmas is settling in at the Deere-Wiman House and Butterworth Center, homes once owned by the John Deere family of Grand Detour. Deere forged a name for himself in history when he invented the steel plow while working as a blacksmith in Grand Detour in 1837.

Both homes will be open from noon to 5 p.m. Dec. 6, and they will be decked out in holiday decor. In the Deere-Wiman House, built in 1872 for John’s son, Charles, visitors will find Victorian decorations. Guests should pay particular attention to the dining room, which will be set for a Victorian Christmas dinner, and a 1933 Lionel train display once owned by Charles Wiman.

Self-guided tours and the train set will be on display all afternoon. At noon and 2 p.m., the Slide Trombone Quartet will play. In between the quartet, Don Estes will perform on acoustic guitar, and there will be other music at 3 p.m.

The Deere-Wiman Carriage House, just east of the home, will have activities including children’s holiday make-n-take crafts, Josh Wright doing free caricature drawings, face painting by Xochi Pannell, and hot chocolate and cookies.

The Butterworth Center was built in 1892 for William and Katherine Butterworth. William Butterworth married John Deere’s granddaughter, Katherine, in 1892 and joined Deere and Co. the same year. He later took over as president of the company when John’s son, Charles, died in 1907.

The Butterworth Center will have cookies and punch throughout the afternoon. At 12:30 p.m., the Moline High School Chamber Orchestra will perform, followed by the Moline Boys Choir. There will also be music at 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. Pay particular attention here to the dried flowers found in wreaths, trees and garlands. They’re from the Butterworth garden.

The Butterworth Education Center, at the corner of 12th Avenue and Seventh Street, was built in 1910 as a garage. For the festivities, there will be children’s crafts, a Splash Back in History exhibit of the Deere-Wiman swimming pool, hot chocolate, and Santa will have treats for kids and a free book for the first 400. Be sure to bring a camera.

Visitors who want to do a little more can make a detour to LeClaire, Iowa, for Christmas in LeClaire, Dec. 4-6. They’ll know it’s the Christmas season when they see strolling Santas from around the world downtown.

Among the events are shopping trolley rides, craft demonstrations, and a someone making wood shoes.

On Dec. 5, “The Miracle of Jesus” will be featured from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Masonic Lodge (second floor), 113 S. Cody St.; a chainsaw carver from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and face painting and a balloon artist from 2 to 4 p.m. at GraniteXact, 120 N. Cody Road. WQAD also will have its “Selfie Set” from noon to 3 p.m. on the patio at Mississippi River Distilling Co., 303 N. Cody Road.

All in all, Christmas is definitely in town.

What: 19th Century Christmas
When: Noon to 5 p.m. Dec. 6
Where: Deere-Wiman House, 817 11th Ave., Moline; Butterworth Center, 1105 Eighth St., Moline
Cost: Free; donations accepted
Information: or 309-765-7971
What: Christmas in LeClaire, Iowa
When: varying times Dec. 4-6
Where: LeClaire, Iowa, Interstate 80, off Iowa Route 67 along the Mississippi River
Cost: Varies
Information: 563-289-4242
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