Residences in the Albany and Old Decatur Historic Districts are not normally open for public viewing except when a select number of homes open their doors during the annual holiday tour. This year’s tour features five stunning homes, along with the Girl Scout Little House and a special event venue, The Columns of Decatur. Homes participating this year include the Henkel-Cox House, the Barrett-Faison House, the Edwards-Digges House, the Dancy-Polk House Inn, and the McEntire-Bennett House. The Dancy-Polk home and McEntire-Bennett home join the tour this year in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.
Along with the tour of homes, neighborhood churches will open their doors for inspirational concerts and refreshments. The Brass Choir, Handbell Choir and other vocal and instrument ensembles of the First Baptist Church music ministry will perform, First Presbyterian Church will present “Jazzin’ the Season” featuring Trish Brown along with Keith Taylor, and First Presbyterian and Westminster Presbyterian Churches will feature Carillion Christmas Music. “A Collection of Nativities” will be on display at the First United Methodist Church Wesley Fellowship Hall and First Baptist Church will host a guided, narrated tour of the 111 year old Stephenson Chapel beautifully decorated for the holiday season.
Carriage rides will be offered beginning at 4 p.m. at the Carnegie Visual Arts Center or at Delano Park near the tennis courts. Cost for the carriage ride is $10 per person. Shuttle bus service will also be available from First United Methodist Church to the tour sites. Many merchants and restaurants throughout the downtown area will also be open during the tour.
Tickets are $15 each and can be purchased in advance at the Decatur/Morgan County Convention & Visitors Bureau, Bank Street Antiques, Trish Land Designs, the Carnegie Visual Arts Center, and Jimmy Smith Jewelers. On the day of the tour, tickets can also be purchased at Trish Land Designs, Bank Street Antiques, Jimmy Smith Jewelers, and the Decatur/Morgan County Convention & Visitors Bureau from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and at the Old State Bank, the Carnegie Visual Arts Center, and First United Methodist Church from 3 to 7 p.m. For groups of ten or more, tickets are $10 each and must be purchased in advance at the Decatur/Morgan County Convention & Visitors Bureau. Proceeds from the tour are used for neighborhood improvements such as tree replenishment and neighborhood public parks restoration.
Combined, the Old Decatur and Albany Historic Districts represent one of the finest and largest collections of Victorian and earlier 20th century craftsman and bungalow homes in Alabama. The homes date back, in some instances, to the early 1800s, while most were constructed around the turn of the 20th century.
A walking/driving tour map of the historic districts is available from the Decatur/Morgan County Convention & Visitors Bureau. For more information, call 256.350.2028. For a schedule of events and more information on the historic homes, visit www.decaturchristmastour.com or www.historicalbanyalabama.com.