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Thursday, March 21, 2013 11:04 am

THIS OLD PARTY HOUSE

After a $36,000 workover, the dining room at Edwards Place is restored and ready to come alive like it did on Feb. 10, 1863. Anna Ridgely described in her diary the party that night at the home of Mrs. B. S. Edwards: “I enjoyed the evening quite well. The entertainment was delightful. The supper room was open all evening and the guests walked around the table admiring the delicacies. A band of music enlivened the scene. We did not come home until quite late.” This was but one of many parties at Edwards Place, which in the mid-19th century was a social center of Springfield. Over the years guests included Abraham Lincoln, Stephen Douglas, Shelby Cullom and Ulysses S. Grant. Now the Springfield Art Association is launching a campaign to raise $1 million to restore the rest of the old house, and another $3 million to build new buildings and rehab others on the SAA campus. To show off the new/old dining room, SAA is hosting an open house March 23 from 2 to 4 p.m.