Groups tour local homes

More than 200 people took advantage of the first day of the tenth annual Julia-Ann Square Historic District’s Victorian Christmas Tour Saturday.

“We have been very pleased with the turnout,” said tour guide and district member Deborah Shaffer. “We are averaging 15 people per group, which is pretty high.”

Fellow tour guide Jeremy Bungard said the number of people on the tour is up from previous years.

“It’s been low in the past, but this is really good – even with the weather,” he said of the event, which continues today in the historic district located adjacent to downtown Parkersburg.

A tour bus of people from the Akron-Canton area broke into two groups to walk through the six homes Saturday.

“I’m absolutely impressed with the homes,” said Betty Hays of Canton.

Hays said she attended one of the historic district’s garden tours in the past and heard about the Christmas tour and said she made sure to come back.

“I’m glad to have come back to Parkersburg for this,” Hays said. “It is more than worth it.”

The six stops in the tour include: David and Ann Bennett, 1033 Juliana St., Jim and Julie DeKlavon, 1040 Juliana St. (the Gov. Stevenson home); Bill and Carol Wotring, 924 Ann St.; Judy and Norman Smith, 1024 Juliana St.; Rick and Ruami Dyck, 1024 Ann St.; and The First United Methodist Church, 1001 Juliana St.

“We had been part of the tour in Belpre in the past, but this is our first year in the Julia-Ann Historic District tour,” said Carol Wotring, who along with her husband, Bill, opened up their 924 Ann St. home. “I think the tour helps the district with projects and I would love to be part of it in the future.”

David and Ann Bennett chose this year as their first to show their home at 1033 Juliana St. after having participated in garden tours. The house was originally two homes that have recently been opened up into one.

“It took us six years to get our home to the point where we could open it to the tour and we are pleased to be a part of it,” Ann Bennett said.

After touring several of the homes, Hays said there is no single one she enjoyed most, but she was excited about the Stevenson House.

“Right now it is gutted, but the (homeowners) promised next year everything will be finished,” Hays said. “I am very excited to come back next year to see the progress.”

Earlier this year, Jim and Julie DeKlavon purchased the home of third West Virginia Gov. William E. Stevenson at 1040 Juliana St., and began doing work. The couple did exterior work before the onset of the winter months and had to do work inside, on the front turret.

Read more coverage of the 2009 Christmas Tour at the Parkersburg News and Sentinel.

Category : In The News Posted on December 6, 2009

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