Melissa Beckwith Lamon and Hiram Beckwith will again welcome visitors to Lamon House in Lincoln Park this year.
You can’t find better tour guides from the past than these two. They are superb. The small chalet will open for the season on Sunday afternoon from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Melissa and Hiram lived to see Danville grow from just a groaning colony on the cliff above the Vermilion River to a bustling town.
You see, Melissa was born in 1830 and her brother Hiram in 1832.
Their father was Danville’s namesake, Dan Beckwith. These two characters are definitely the right historical figures to tell you about when they lived and how people lived.
The picturesque house in which they will welcome you was built around 1850.
It was then on North Street, a stone’s throw from where the brick house of Doctor William H. Fithian was built over the next decade.
But enough about the doctor, Melissa and Hiram can tell you all about him.
They also know the history of the Beckwith family, the Lamon family and that prominent family member who was Abraham Lincoln’s friend and bodyguard, Ward Hill Lamon.
Although it has not been documented, Abraham Lincoln likely stopped by the Lamon House when he was in Danville for court week.
There is also a modern story associated with the little house, it is about Becky and Alan Woodrum.
They are the living story presenters portraying Melissa and Hiram.
They have spent years and countless hours researching and studying the individuals they represent, the people they were associated with, and the times in which they lived.
Their presentations are based on fact, not fiction. They are certainly well qualified to fulfill their living history roles.
They know the Lamons, the Beckwiths and the people they knew when Danville started. Becky is also an authority on social etiquette from this period.
Becky and Alan started volunteering at the Lamon House many years ago and operated it for several seasons.
They supervise volunteers and run open days.
They offer a beautiful presentation of living history.
Over the years they have done this for many people. They also organized tours for special groups by appointment, including visits to student schools.
Young people enjoy seeing the authentic period clothing that Becky and Alan wear when they give tours.
Their living history presentations were also shared in other venues.
A lady who was shown around the Lamon house was a bit taken aback when Becky and Alan, in their roles as Melissa and Hiram, gave her a full tour.
She noted that she was the only one present at the time, but they took her through the house, room by room.
She observed that they remained in character, that they were knowledgeable, attentive, and that she had never seen a better presentation of living history.
The community is indeed blessed with dedicated people like the Woodrums, who, through their selfless volunteerism, share their skills and knowledge with others.