Christmas Home Tour this Saturday

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By Robin Bass

Saturday’s forecast promises a wintry mix and some down-right chilly temperatures. Some might say that is perfect weather for a car ride together visiting the warm hospitality of the Christmas Home Tour.

Beginning at 3 p.m., four homeowners will open their doors and welcome in folks seeking a little comfort from the cold and some down-home holiday cheer. Along the way, visitors might just pick up a decorating idea or two.

For Elk Creek resident Kim Davis, she hopes that some of those touring her home will leave tidbits of their own behind.

“I would love to know more about the house,” said Davis of the home she has shared with husband, Ray, and their children for the past seven years.

Shortly after agreeing to participate in this year’s home tour, Davis went in search of facts about previous owners. Luckily, she didn’t have to go far. Just down the road she found 93-year-old Lula McGee who recalled first moving into the home in 1939.

According to Davis, McGee said that the house was known by locals as the Old Morgan McClain place. The previous owner, a Mrs. Smith, said at one time a large brick house had stood on that very spot, but burned. As the story goes, it was a Mr. McClain who rebuilt the original home that now stands.

McGee said that within weeks of moving in the house with her husband, Herbert, and their new baby, it caught fire again.

“She said there was never usually any traffic on the road, but that day a lot of people drove by and all the men formed a fire brigade to put the fire out,” said Davis.

After living in the home for 30 years, the McGees moved out and a series of new owners took over. Owners with last names like Henry, Bell and Holland.

With new owners also came new additions to the old farmhouse. There was the first indoor bathroom, a furnace, and a carport that later became a family room. The Davises have made their stamp as well with the additions of a fish pond, pool, hot tub, and a garden shed.

While little in the way of details may be known about the Davis house, it is a well-known landmark in the community. Nestled along bustling Elk Creek Road, the old farm house is quickly noticed for its peacock color and inviting white picket fence.

Another inviting old farm house on the Christmas Home Tour is the Little Mount residence owned by Lowry and Phoebe Brown. Originally a one and a half story log cabin built in 1860, this home boasts a “new” addition dating back to 1907.

“We like the feel of this house,” said Phoebe, “there’s so many neat parts to it.”

The house contains a total of three distinct staircase designs: a rather normal straight staircase in the rear of the home, the ornamental parlor staircase with its original banister, and a set of crooked stairs typically seen in log cabins. With five bedrooms and three baths, the house contains about 4,000 sq. ft. of living space – something that was in high demand when Lowry was growing up in the home during the 1940s.

“There was always at least 10 people living here,” said Lowry.

When Lowry’s parents, JD and Mary Frances (McClain) Brown, first moved into the home to care for his grandmother there were six of them living in the home. In time, four more children were added to the family. This required that two of the porches be enclosed for more bedroom space.

“There are so many memories here,” said Lowry. “There were always extra kids hanging around. We would go outside and my mother wouldn’t see us again until the sun went down. It was a fun time.”

Eight years ago the Browns bought the family home, but it took them another four years to move in. In the meantime, they replaced carpets, uncovered wood floors, installed three HVAC units, added two bathrooms and replaced old wiring and plumbing.

“It is a beautiful, old house full of memories, history and charm,” said Phoebe, but one that contains 21st century conveniences.

The Christmas Home Tour will be held Saturday from 3 p.m. until 8 p.m. Participants can purchase tickets at the Red Scooter, located on Main Street, the day of the event for $15. Guests will be given a map to home sites included in this self-guided tour. Main Street Committee members encourage participants to begin the evening with an open house at the Red Scooter and end with treats and live music at the Sanctuary Arts Center.