Thursday, December 4, 2014

Historic Decatur Christmas Tour Set for December 13

The Albany and Old Decatur Historic Districts will present their annual Historic Decatur Christmas Tour on Saturday, December 13, 2014. Ten homes and sites, trimmed in traditional decorations, will be open for viewing as part of the self-guided tour from 3 to 8 p.m. Along with the tour, the annual event offers holiday decorating tips, carriage rides, refreshments, and live holiday music.

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 10 beautiful homes and sites each beautifully decorated with luminaries, fruit, greenery, and thousands of lights.

Participating homes and sites include:

-        The Lighton House (506 Ferry Street NE)
This one-story Queen Ann style Victorian was built in 1906. From an inscription found on the basement wall, indications are the Brown family was one of its first inhabitants.

-        The Lyons-McNeill Apartments (406 Lafayette Street NE)
The Lyons-McNeill Apartments are located on land that was part of a 307-acre land grant in 1821 from President James Monroe to five north Alabama citizens. Some of the family names of these citizens were Garth, Rhodes, Peck and others. (Two apartments will be open for viewing.)

-        The Jacobs House (515 Canal Street NE)
This home was originally built in 1910 as a Victorian style one-story house using “balloon” framing techniques. The home has a truncated hip room pent at the porch and the front entry features pilasters, which flank the front door.

-        The LeVenne Terrace Apartments (508 Oak Street NE)
The Tillery family built this historic home in the Greek-Revival style in the early 1870s as a two-story, single-family home of about 2,000 square feet. More than 70 years later, the Harris family converted the home into the LeVenne Terrace Apartments.

-        The Williams-McKay House (1044 Jackson Street SE)
Prevalent in the United States in the early 1900s through the 1950s, the Williams-McKay House is an excellent example of the Colonial Revival style. Based on the English and Dutch colonial styles popular in the early colonies on the Eastern seaboard, there were many variations on the shape of Colonial Revival homes.

-        The Pirie-Johnston House (634 Grant Street SE)
This location was originally part of a land grant from the U.S. Government to the State of Alabama in 1828. In 1887, it became part of the incorporation of the Decatur Land Improvement and Furnace Company, Inc. The home was built around 1909 as a two-story residence.

-        First United Methodist Church (805 Canal Street NE)
Decatur’s First United Methodist Church was officially organized in 1834.

-        St. John’s Episcopal Church (202 Gordon Street SE)
Serving as Tour headquarters this year, St. John’s Episcopal Church is one of the most beautiful structures in Historic Decatur. After a fire burned St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, originally organized in 1867, to the ground in 1888, its parishioners differed over where to rebuild, in Old Decatur or in New Decatur (now Albany Historic District).

-        The Old State Bank (925 Bank Street NE)
The Old State Bank remains at its original site from when it first opened in 1833. The two story structure sports Federal Empire period architecture, which was popular in the 1830s.

-        The Carnegie Visual Arts Center (207 Church Street NE)
Originally constructed in 1904 as The Carnegie Library with funding from the Carnegie Foundation, the Carnegie Visual Arts Center is one of the few remaining original Carnegie Library buildings in the nation.

Visit for a more detailed description of each site.

Along with the self-guided tour of homes, neighborhood churches will open their doors for inspirational concerts and refreshments. Carillon Christmas music can be heard throughout the afternoon and evening at First Presbyterian Church and Westminster Presbyterian Church. During the Tour of Homes, refreshments from local eateries and restaurants will be served in the Parish Hall at St. John’s Episcopal Church and carriage rides will be offered beginning at 3 p.m. departing from the Carnegie Visual Arts Center (weather permitting).

Designers from Townhouse Galleries will demonstrate ways to transform the dining table into an inspiring holiday tablescape. Set for 5 p.m., the workshop will be held in the Parish Hall at St. John’s Episcopal Church. The Decatur Youth Symphony will present a program of holiday music at 4 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church and the Alabama Center for the Arts will offer a tour of their facility, a variety of activities including a pop up art gallery with original works of art for sale, and a Painting Pizazz class beginning at 3 p.m. Cost for the painting class is $35 per person (all supplies provided) and pre-registration is required by calling 256.260.2462.

Tickets are $20 each and can be purchased in advance at the Decatur-Morgan County Convention & Visitors Bureau, Bank Street Art and Antiques, the Carnegie Visual Arts Center, Tammy Eddy Antiques and Interiors, and Jimmy Smith Jewelers. On the day of the tour, tickets can also be purchased at the Old State Bank, the Carnegie Visual Arts Center, and First United Methodist Church from 2 to 7 p.m. Proceeds from the tour are used to preserve, protect and enhance the character and legacy of the historic neighborhoods.

For a schedule of events and more information on the participating historic homes and sites, visit

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