2017 Special Events at the David Davis Mansion

The Mansion is open for regular tours each week 9am-4pm, Wednesday-Saturday, except holidays. The events below are separate opportunities to visit, during times and dates noted, when special programs are planned for your pleasure. Call 309-828-1084 with questions.

"A Dickens Christmas" .... at David Davis Mansion, Nov. 24th-Dec. 30th ... Open 9am-4pm Mon.-Sat. .... Closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day & New Year's Day

Only country musicians and rock stars are as wildly popular today as the English novelist, Charles Dickens, was in his time.  Legions of fans eagerly awaited the publication of his books and stood in long lines to get tickets for his public appearances.  It has been estimated that during his lifetime, almost every literate person in England had read at least one of his novels.

The life of Judge David Davis was connected to an important event in Dickens’s life and especially to the holiday tale, A Christmas Carol

To showcase the charming story behind this connection, the David Davis Mansion will be exhibiting the ways in which Dickens’s novels influenced Victorian America and the family of David Davis, in particular.  Visitors will still see the mansion decorated in its late-Victorian splendor, but they will also discover what A Christmas Carol meant to David Davis and his family.  To commemorate that personal connection, the David Davis Mansion is calling the 2017 exhibit: “A Dickens Christmas.” 


Event Date 11-24-2017
Event End Date 12-30-2017

Christmas at the Mansions Tours -- Saturday, Dec. 9th,   2-5pm and 5-8pm

The very popular Bloomington-Normal annual holiday event, "Christmas at the Mansions," featuring tours of David Davis Mansion, Ewing Manor, and a third secret location, all decorated for the holidays, will be held on Saturday, December 9th in two sessions: 2-5pm and 5-8pm. 

Tickets are non-refundable, and are $15 in advance, beginning November 1st, at Casey's Garden Shop, The Garlic Press, Hy-Vee Market, both Schnucks Supermarkets, Constitution Place Self-Storage, the David Davis Mansion Visitor Center, and online at www.daviddavismansion.org. On the day of the event, tickets will be $18 each, available only at David Davis Mansion. Tickets will be available only until sold out.

Parking is available on the grounds of David Davis Mansion at 1000 Monroe Drive, Bloomington, and across the street from Ewing Manor in the parking lot of St. John's Lutheran Church, 1617 E. Emerson Street. Shuttle buses will run continuously throughout the tour times from those locations to the three tour sites and will return tour-takers to the place where they are parked. Directions and maps to all three mansions will be available at Ewing Manor and the Davis Mansion.

The 36-room David Davis Mansion, built in 1872 for Supreme Court justice David Davis and his wife Sarah, offers a dazzling look at Victorian-era Christmas traditions. David Davis and Charles Dickens were connected through Dickens's holiday tale, A Christmas Carol, and "A Dickens Christmas" is the theme at the mansion this year. Visitors will see the mansion decorated in its late-Victorian splendor, but they will also see representations of special holiday festivities, food, and activities made popular by Dickens's book, including snowballing and street entertainers, blazing fireplaces, roasting chestnuts, Christmas dances, parlor games, holly sprigs and mistletoe, wassail bowls, mince pies, plum pudding, and more.  

Ewing Manor - Bloomington's only "castle" - built for Spencer Ewing and his wife Hazle Buck Ewing, takes visitors back to the Edwardian era in the earliest years of the 20th century. The private bedrooms and office once occupied by the Ewing family have been completely restored and will be decorated for Christmas. Visitors will enjoy the dramatic view from the Manor's picturesque spiral staircase as they move from one level to the other. The Manor also features special outdoor lighting during the evening.

This year's third location, the "mystery Christmas house" is sure to delight visitors with its ties to local history and its festive holiday decor! 

Funds raised by the tour will benefit educational programming at both Ewing Manor and David Davis Mansion, and a community charity chosen by the owner of the mystery home.

For more information on the event, call the David Davis Mansion at 309-828-1084 or visit www.ChristmasAtTheMansions.com.

The event is co-sponsored by the David Davis Mansion Foundation, a not-for-profit organization, and Ewing Cultural Center, a not-for-profit museum owned and operated by Illinois State University Foundation. The David Davis Mansion State Historic Site is administered by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. 

Event Date 12-09-2017 2:00 pm
Event End Date 12-09-2017 8:00 pm
Ticket Sales Start Date 10-30-2017 8:00 am
Cut off date 12-07-2017 11:55 pm

Ongoing Events

Prologue to Presidency: Abraham Lincoln on the Illinois Eighth Judicial Circuit

Ongoing Exhibit

Funded by a total of $33,000 in grants from several organizations, this is the first of such major exhibits to be created in the local Lincoln legacy programs, and is housed in the Lincoln-era barn on the grounds of the David Davis Mansion. The project is sponsored by the former Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission of McLean County as part of the celebration of the Lincoln Bicentennial. The exhibit development was also supported by the Illinois Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, the Bloomington-Normal Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Looking for Lincoln Heritage Coalition. The Heritage Association of McLean County is working with the Davis Mansion staff and Foundation to promote the exhibit and create related educational programs and special events. For more information, contact the David Davis Mansion State Historic Site at (309) 828-1084.

Looking for Lincoln and Davis

Special exhibits and educational programs related to Abraham Lincoln and David Davis are part of a statewide tourism program. Call (309) 828-1084 for more information.

David Davis Mansion

1000 Monroe Drive
Bloomington, Illinois 61701

Contact Us

Phone: (309) 828-1084
Email: [email protected]

Hours of Operation

Wednesday - Saturday
9am - 4pm