Victorian Christmas: Five homes featured on annual tour

PARKERSBURG – Good weather and crowds made for a successful Victorian Christmas Home Tour and Tea over the weekend in the Julia-Ann Square Historic District in Parkersburg.  The annual tour featured five historic homes decorated for the holiday season, which could be viewed over the course of two days.  “Things have been going wonderfully,” said organizer Judith Smith, whose home at 1024 Juliana St. (Caswell-Smith House), was featured on the tour. “I know we are nearing Christmas, but the weather has been so gorgeous, it has brought people out.
“I was afraid with no snow or anything like that, people might not want to come to a Christmas tour. We have had a wonderful response,” she said Sunday afternoon.  People have been interested in the decorations of the homes, their histories and more.  “Just the kindest people come on these tours,” Smith said. “I think it is a cosmic rule.”

The stops on this year’s tour were 1035 Ann St., 936 Juliana St., 1014 Juliana St., 1024 Juliana St. and the West Virginia Baptist Convention office at 1019 Juliana St.  On Saturday, the tours were escorted by guides in period attire and homeowners shared the history of their homes. Afterwards, guests attended a Victorian tea.

“(On Sunday), we just let people flow through,” Smith said. “This was a more relaxed day (on Sunday).
“We have had a house-full all day long.”
Many homeowners on the tour hoped people would appreciate the history of the homes and the decorations put up. Many homes on the tour featured antiques as well as items from around the area, businesses and such that are no longer around.  “I hope they develop a respect, if not a love, for the old house and see what made them great,” Smith said. “I hope they get an understanding of the history and what we have left.
“I hope they will honor and respect the old.”
Many young people have gone through the tour throughout the weekend.
“On this tour, we have seen so many young people, teenagers and children,” Smith said. “That always makes me so happy to see young people loving old things.
“It gives them a perspective and a respect.”
The tour raises money for the improvement of the historic district.
Past projects have included lighting, sidewalk repair and improvements and the installation of arches at the entrances to the district.
Karen Radcliff, of Parkersburg, works at the West Virginia Baptist Convention, which was one of the featured houses on the tour at at 1019 Juliana St. (the Crawford House).

“Each one is different,” she said. “I just love all of these historic houses here.
“I wanted to come and see what some of these other historic houses looked like in the neighborhood,” she said.
Radcliff loves antiques and likes to see how they are displayed in the area’s historic homes.  “They have the space to display them like they should be where most homes don’t,” she said. “I like to see how they display and use them.

Anna Schultheis, who owns the home at 1014 Juliana St. with her husband, Kirk, said the tour was great.   “It has been very busy and we have had a lot of people going through,” she said. “We have had great weather and a great turnout.  “We are very pleased.”

Story by:  BRETT DUNLAP, Parkersburg News and Sentinel

Category : In The News Posted on December 5, 2011

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