Historic homes, decked out for holiday, await visitors

 

Georgetown is special. Over and over, newcomers and long-timers affirm that the quiet, shaded streets of Old Town are integral to Georgetown’s charm, unobtrusively anchoring today to yesteryear. Drive those streets and look closely at old structures, large and small, that have adapted beautifully to changing demands of modern families. For over twenty years, Georgetown Heritage Society has annually showcased a few unique homes, celebrating history and Christmas.

The 2012 Holiday Home Tour takes place on December 8–9 from noon to 5:00 p.m. Visitors may enjoy all six homes on the tour for $15.00 by purchasing tickets in advance (see sidebar). On the weekend of the tour, the cost is $18.00. Here’s a peek at the Old Town variety on display.

A vibrantly restored bungalow on Main Street nestles among spreading trees and boasts a secluded outdoor living space. Another expansive bungalow on Ash Street features beauty and practicality for a young family. Farther along on 15th Street, a quaint cottage, bursting with an amazing glassware collection, once stood on Southwestern’s campus before being moved, years ago, to its present corner. Across University Avenue, tucked back on Walnut Street, stands an historical home constructed by Belford Lumber Company; its ceiling beams and woodwork are prime examples of Arts and Crafts style. Over on Myrtle Street, an unassuming facade masks a tasteful, serene interior featuring an original pressed-tin ceiling. This residence began life in 1903 as a carriage and bicycle repair shop and later served as Georgetown’s first Ford dealership.

Each home has been lovingly and creatively maintained, restored, or repurposed. Current residents recognized “good bones” and workmanship from earlier eras, then made the homes uniquely their own. But 303 E. 9th Street, home of J.C. and Linda Johnson, offers a special continuum. It’s the oldest house on the tour, built in the late 1870s. Three generations of the same family have occupied the house for 112 years, although it stood vacant for fourteen years after J.C.’s grandmother passed away. Some heirlooms reflect over 150 years of family history.

The home was purchased by J.C.’s grandfather, John Ellyson, around 1900. By then, the family was in its third generation in Georgetown, dating back to J.C.’s great-great-grandfather Christian A.D. Clamp, who arrived here in 1851, a by his great-grandfather, Reverend John McMurray, a Presbyterian minister. Mr. Ellyson contracted Belford Lumber to enlarge the home in 1911, and the basic structure has remained the same ever since: four chimneys, original glass transoms, push-button light switches, twelve-foot ceilings, pine flooring, and imposing pocket doors between parlor and dining room.

J.C. remembers a barn out back, a blacksmith shop in the neighborhood, and dirt streets. Memorabilia abounds, like the massive piano owned by Mr. Clamp, and a quilt box and pie safe he constructed. There’s a Murphy bed cleverly disguised as a wardrobe, Christmas decorations, and portraits galore. Rooms accommodate whimsical themes, like the 1950s, jungle, or Egyptian motifs.

Just think—if the walls in all these homes could talk…!


Advance tickets available downtown at Grace Heritage Center (811 S. Main Street), Georgetown Visitors Center (on 7th Street), The Escape, Georgetown Antique Mall, or Sun City Community Center, or online at www.georgetownheritagesociety.com.
Call 869-8597 for more information.

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