Lake Kilby Garden Club adds a touch of holiday elegance at the Prentis House

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 17, 2003

The halls have been decked in the historic Prentis House. The Lake Kilby Garden Club donated its time and expertise to create an enchanting holiday dcor for one of Suffolk’s oldest homes. Inspired by Colonial Williamsburg, the elegance of evergreen garland, holly, and magnolia leaves is surpassed only by the fresh apples, lemons and pineapples carefully placed throughout the historic structure. As typical of 18th-century holiday decorating, the Garden Club adorned the house with natural greens, fruit and nuts.

The Lake Kilby Garden Club is comprised of 15 full-time members and as many associate members. Meeting monthly September through May, the club &uot;promotes the use and awareness of floral and botanical materials to enhance the quality of life,&uot; according to Fan Panton, chairman of the Decorating Committee.

Educating the public and honing the club members’ horticulture skills are primary concerns for this long-standing Suffolk garden club. Members benefit from regular expert speakers who address everything from herb gardens to feng shui. Currently seeking new members, the club works to foster an appreciation for flowers and the art of gardening.

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Jeanette Maust, Kay Hurley, Lena Small, Margaret Smith, along with Kitty Eason, club president, and Membership Chairman, Carol Woolard, worked with Panton to decorate the Prentis House for the season. Eager to serve the community and showcase the club’s talent, the Lake Kilby Garden Club swept through the Prentis House, leaving behind holiday cheer, reminiscent of a colonial Christmas.

The mission of the Tourism Division is to improve the level and quality of tourism activity in the City of Suffolk and to increase the awareness of the natural, historic, cultural, and architectural heritage of the City. The Suffolk Visitor Center is located in the heart of historic Suffolk in the Prentis House (c. 1800) located at 321 N. Main St. Open daily, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call 923-3880 for more information.



Purchased by Peter Bowdion Prentis from Dr. John Thompson Kilby on Dec. 21, 1857, the Prentis House is one of the oldest standing homes in Suffolk. Originally intended to be a manor house, the home was set back from the street with a large yard on the north side. The conventional &uot;office&uot; of Mr. Prentis stood in front of the house and well to the right. When the Union Army occupied Suffolk during the Civil War, Mr. Prentis, who was clerk of the Nansemond County Court, was arrested with other prominent citizens and held hostage to ensure the cooperation of the townspeople with the Union troops. He was safely returned and resumed his position as clerk of court.