Tuesday, January 22, 2013


"You can serve high tea around the dining room table but afternoon tea is more of a living room occasion, with everything brought in on a tray or a cart."   Angela Hynes, The Pleasures 
 of Afternoon Tea

Before I share this week's Tea Cup I'd like to share with you a bit of history...

This is a photo of a tea cart from the 1920's. It sits in the corner of the dining room of the Plummer House, a 49 room mansion in the heart of the city. The Plummer House was the home of Dr Henry Plummer and his wife, Daisy. 

 Many have asked me about the 49 room mansion, called The Plummer House, that we live in and that I mention here in my blog.

  Here's the "short story": We don't own the house. It is owned by the city of Rochester and managed by the Park And Recreation Dept. We work for the P. and R. Dept and act as Resident Directors, living in what we like to call, "the West Wing" of the house. The house was built from 1917-1924, taking 7 years to build. It was owned by Dr Plummer who helped begin the world famous Mayo Clinic with the Mayo Brothers. He was a genius and invented many things even unrelated to his medical profession. We've lived here now 22 years. The house can be  rented ( except, of course, where WE live ) and is most often used for weddings and small events. There are days in the summer set aside for tours and videos sharing the history of the house and family.  I will be sharing more about our adventures here and the history of the house in future posts. Our responsibility is to oversee events and tours and any other activity in the house. We oversee the day-to-day needs of the house working with the cleaning staff and maintenance staff and tour guides. There are 11 acres of gardens, ponds with fountains, and woods taken care of by the Park Dept. There are amazing views in  every direction. We feel very blessed to be living here!

OK so what does this information have to do with Tea and Tea Parties? The tea cart above belonged to Daisy Plummer. She loved to entertain! The family came from an English background and so, of course having tea was a big part of their entertaining. As the saying above says, "tea was brought in on tea carts and trays".
The top of the tea cart held two glass trays that could be picked up to carry and serve. The doilies you see were just set underneath the glass trays.
                                     Here's a close-up of the doilies.  Sorry about the glare spots. I really need a better camera...

 Many famous people came to the clinic ( and still DO) and in the past, the Mayo family and the Plummer family hosted them for parties and for tea.  Here is a photo of Daisy Plummer on the left with...anyone care to guess?.... It's Helen Keller in the middle and Annie Sullivan on the right! Daisy hosted them for tea on THIS VERY TEA CART! This photo sits on the tea cart now ( but without the white glare spot ). I'm not sure when this photo was taken but the clothes appear later than the 1920's.

They were in their heyday in the house from the twenties to the early thirties. Remember hearing about the "roaring twenties"?  You can see in this photo below that this was taken in the 1920's when the clothing styles were about "flappers" and  low waisted dresses. There are photos of this era all around the house.
This is  Daisy but once again I have another glare in there. This photo hangs in the Master Bedroom.

Below are photos of the dining room. The furniture here is all original to the house back when Henry and Daisy lived there. The dining table has 7 leaves and opens up to seat 20 people.

Since the house isn't rented over the Holidays,  we enjoy our family Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter dinners in this room. Since the one table can seat so many for a long time we didn't have to have  to have  a "kid's table" like our family and my husband's family  did back when we were growing up. Now that our family is growing and we can't all even fit around THIS table we've had to add a "kid's table"! Our older grandchildren ( ages 11 and 16 ) now feel "shunned" having to sit at another table! OK They don't really feel shunned but it's new to them. Guess they've been kind of spoiled and we're  not even rich! My husband tells them, " Your great aunt, Cindy, sat at the kids table until she was 40!" Anyway, it all gets worked out and everyone is happy!

Here's the chandelier over the dining room table. The ceiling was hand-"carved" out of the ceiling plaster and much later painted ( the painting of it was a mistake in MY mind ). One of the current goals we have for the house is to get the painting and walls back to their original style.

                                                      Original buffet and a newer mirror.

This door leads to the Butler's pantry where there is a dumb waiter  and then on into the kitchen. The silver drawers you see as you look in are warming ovens.

We've had many adventures living  here that I'll share in future posts. We've also learned to appreciate and gain a deeper interest in the history of our home and community, its medical roots, and the people in it.  It also fits into my love of vintage and antique treasures. To see some outdoor winter photos of the house go to my right sidebar.  I'll be changing them as the seasons change...

                                                      AND NOW MY TEA CUP!

 Once again this was one that belonged to my grandmother.  It's Evangeline Paragon. After checking out the background on this I found that this particular cup  dates back to the mid 1930's. Paragon China is an English company making fine china  and in later years becoming Royal Doultan. It states that this China is so delicate that if dropped it would shatter into a million pieces.What cup wouldn't?  I won't be testing it out, however!

The design on this is on the saucer and INSIDE the cup. The outer side of the cup is white with a gold ring.

                                        I love the delicate curved handle on the cup.

The colors don't show well here but it has a light mint green background with dainty colored flowers. I simply MUST get a new camera!!  UGH!  The shadows!

I hope you enjoyed a little history with your tea today... I'll be joining the following Tea Parties:

Teacup Tuesday  at Artful Affirmations
Teacup Tuesday at Martha's Favorites
Tuesday Cuppa Tea at Antiques and Teacups
Tea Time Tuesday at Rose Chintz Cottage
Tea On Tuesday at Poetry In A Pot Of Tea
Friends Sharing Tea at Bernideen's Tea Time Blog  ( Wednesday )
 Tuesday Tea  at Tea Cozie Cottage
A Return To Loveliness at A Delightsome Life

To find my GROW YOUR BLOG and a GIVE-AWAY go to my Sunday Jan 20th post.
To find LIVE YOUR DREAM LIFE NOW WORKSHOP SESSION 3 go to my Monday Jan 21st post.


  1. Hi Sandy: I was putting up my link for the party when I saw your cup. I had to start with your blog. Wow, what a beautiful cup. Love all the pictures of the house. Lucky lady. Have a great week. Blessings, Martha

  2. What a wonderful tour! A very special house. Thanks for the history. I don't have a tea cart...no room...but love them. The doilies are gorgeous as well. And I LOVE your teacup! One of my most favorite eras and makers...1930s and hand colored on transfer. Beautiful! Thanks so much for linking to Tuesday Cuppa Tea!

  3. Oh, Sandy, I loved the history of the house! And I find you so lucky to live in such an environment!
    The tea cart is a treasure, with doilies and all, but your Paragon tea cup is a perfect match to these beauties!
    Thanks for sharing.

  4. What a fascinating house and the mistory about it is wonderful - I so enjoyed. Very lovely cup and saucer!

  5. How I enjoyed your post! The history is amazing and to think you are a part of it! I'm thinking of warmer weather and being able to grab a cup of tea and walk around the gardens every morning! Thank you for sharing!

  6. Hello Sandi,
    I am enjoying your post. It is so interesting to read about where you live and what you do. I am very impressed with the tea tray (love those two trays that lift off!) and it's history. Wow, Helen and Ann! I went to Helen Keller Jr. High and have always known about her. She was quite the lady. Ann, of course, has her own amazing history.
    I can hear your love of the home and grounds in your words. It does seem quite amazing that you live there!
    Your tea cup is indeed beautiful! The style is It really does look like a 1930s cup, even early 40s. I do love that era!

  7. Sandy, this post was so interesting; how lucky for you and your family to live in this historical home. I once saw a teacart as you've shown at our local antique barn and I'm sure it was snapped up quickly by someone.
    I'm still bouncing around the names from Vicki's party and when I saw you were a participant as well, I've been to that post too and became your 150th follower.
    I hope to see you at the weekly tea gathering.

  8. Wow what fascinating history and wonderful that you and your whole family get to live it and enjoy it! Yay you! :D What a remarkable home.. A true treasure, much like your tea cup, so delicate and beautiful. You are one blessed woman and never ever say again that you aren't rich.. You have riches beyond measure.. Wealth? Well.. What good is that anyway? ;)

    1. You are absolutely correct, we feel very richly blessed!

  9. What a fascinating post, Sandy, and what fun to live in a house so full of history. The grounds also sound amazing. Love the tea cart and the teacup, both are beautiful. You are living in a very special place and how wonderful for you and your family. Thank you for sharing this with us and coming to tea. Hope you have a lovely week.


  10. I love hearing more about the fascinating place you live! And your tea cup is so dainty and pretty! Enjoy your afternoon!

  11. Oh my goodness! You get to live there? How fascinating! You are very lucky! I bet you could imagine yourself writing a book! Your photography is just fine. Sometimes if you don't use a flash you can avoid the glare and shadows. But the cup is very beautiful! Glad you won't be testing it out lol! To have holiday dinners in that room around that table must be heaven!
    Wonderful and interesting post here!!

    @french laundry 132

  12. Sandy, how wonderful that you live in an historical house! I love to hear the stories. Beautiful tea cart and your Paragon teacup is gorgeous. Love the color!

  13. What a treasure trove of history and wonder. Beautiful pieces.

  14. You my dear have a great story, and this was a great post!


  15. Amazing story, what a great fun post. I to love tea carts!


  16. Thank you for a very interesting post! I have always admired Helen Keller so that tea trolley and pict. were a treat. Hope your weekend is a good one, Pam :-)

  17. I love all things tea and so this was a fun post for me to see tonight! Thanks for sharing. I love those old photos too!

  18. Hello- lovely story and great house. One correction however. The photo is of Annie SULLIVAN and Helen Keller. Anne Frank was another girl who died in WWII. Annie Sullivan was Helen's lifelong companion and the young teacher who taught her sign language and how to communicate.

    1. Oh my goodness! I can't believe I wrote that! I KNEW it was Annie Sullivan but the wrong name just came out at the time! I'll change it right now! Funny that after all this time no one else noticed that! ;) Thanks for the correction!


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