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Foss Mansion opens doors for Christmas Open House

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The historic Foss Mansion at 19 Elm Street in Auburn will be decked out in holiday trim for a Christmas Open House from December 13-15.

The Woman’s Literary Union (WLU) of Androscoggin County will open its historic Foss Mansion for a Christmas Open House on Friday, December 13 from 5 to 8 p.m., Saturday, December 14 from 1 to 6 p.m., and Sunday, December 15 from 1 to 6 p.m.

WLU members and local professionals have decorated the mansion’s rooms on the first and second floors. Orphan Annie’s has transformed the library into a spectacular holiday room, and the Great Falls Model Railroad Club will have a fun, Christmas-themed train set on display.

The festive holiday décor blends beautifully with the mansion’s architectural splendor. Built between 1914 and 1917 for Horatio G. and Ella May Fletcher Foss, the house featured the latest in technological innovations, including dual electric and gas lighting, a central vacuum system, concealed lighting in the dining room, bathrooms with flushing toilets and plumbing, and closet lights that turned on when the doors were opened.

The only major changes made to the house over the years were in the kitchen, which was updated in the late 1940s, and the switch from a coal to an oil furnace. The rest of the house, with its Spanish-influenced, white-stuccoed exterior walls, clay tiled roof, Federal-influenced portico, and Palladian windows, remains a fine example of mostly Georgian Revival architecture.

The distinctive mansion is a landmark of the Historic Downtown Auburn District and was placed on the National Registry of Historic Places in 1976.

The Fosses were known for their generosity in the community. Horatio worked at, and then became the owner of, the Dingley Foss Shoe Co. The couple had no children, and Ella bequeathed the mansion to WLU upon her death in 1941.

The Woman’s Literary Union of Androscoggin County is a 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit organization. Tax deductible donations will be accepted at this event to help support the union’s scholarship fund and general maintenance of the Foss Mansion.

Admission will be $8 for adults and $5 for students. Children under 12 will be admitted for free. The Foss mansion is located at 19 Elm Street in Auburn. For more information, call 783-1705 or email womansliteraryunion@gmail.com.

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