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Columns

Picturing the Past With ... the Geneva History Museum

The original home at 404 S. Third St. in Geneva was built for Polly Patten Clark in 1867.

Edmond and Kate Raftery bought the property in 1919, and by 1922 they converted the carriage house into the Geneva Gift Shop, where items from abroad were sold to the public.

At the age of 52, without any business experience, Kate Raftery had begun what would later become The Little Traveler. Multiple additions over the years connected the main and carriage houses, enclosed the courtyard and added wings to the store.

As the business grew, so did the traditions. Kate displayed a crèche of 18th century Neapolitan nativity figures in a 17th century French provincial corner bed in the antique room each December.

Her ownership of the crèche dates as early as the 1930s, and it continued to be displayed at the shop through the mid-1970s. Now part of the Geneva History Museum’s collection, the crèche will be on display starting Nov. 21.

Fundraisers are planned to help restore the crèche, with a Merry Mixer from 5 to 7 p.m. Dec. 6 and a Christmas Luncheon at noon Dec. 8. Visit GenevaHistoryMuseum.org for information.

Pictured: The Little Traveler, circa 1940s.

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