The Heritage Home Association of Tuscarawas County will present the 25th Annual Christmas Tour on Sunday, Dec. 9, from noon until 5 p.m.
The tour has its roots in the Dennison-Uhrichsville area, where it was begun by the Dennison Depot Women's Committee in 1993. On this, the 25th anniversary of the tour, the Twin Cities are revisited, as well as to one of the oldest settlements in Ohio and several stops in county seat New Philadelphia.
The oldest standing home in Gnadenhutten, (and one of the oldest in Tuscarawas County) is located at 122 W. Main St. It has connections to the earliest Moravian and Methodist churches. According to the County Recorder's office, the home was constructed on its current site in 1812. Several owners later, the house had been "updated" and sided and bore little resemblance to the historic structure underneath it all. Marvin and Rebecca Page purchased the historic home and painstakingly restored it to the closest semblance of original as has been seen in a very long time. The Pages were presented with a Historic Marker by Heritage Home Association this year, which they proudly display on the front of their home.
From Gnadenhutten, the tour visits the Twin Cities with two stops at homes in Dennison (one on First Street, one on Deer Hill Road), as well as the community's second-oldest church (Immaculate Conception).
Built in 1993, the brick ranch style home of Blair and Jody Hillyer was one of the earliest homes built in the Deer Hill Subdivision. Holiday decorations will include trees from the Warther Festival of Trees, lighted Dickens Village Homes, and a railroad-themed room with old lanterns, train sets, and an antique train decoration.
Rebecca Welch's home on North First Street in Dennison is known as The Lanning House. This handsome Georgian-Colonial Home, with its beige brick and green tile roof, was built in 1928 by Roy and Edna Lanning. It has been said that Mr. Lanning was such a stickler that, when he had a temporary brick wall built on his property, he made sure that each brick matched the house perfectly during its construction. This home is nearly in its original state with beautiful woodwork throughout, original windows with art deco curtain rods, and three working fireplaces. The Lannings' baby grand piano still graces the living room.
A few blocks from the Lanning House stands Dennison's second oldest church, Immaculate Conception Catholic Church. Over a century ago, in 1869, several Irish Catholic families came to Dennison with the moving of the Pennsylvania Pan Handle Car and Machine Shops from Steubenville. They became the first members of what is now the Immaculate Conception parish in Dennison. Father Twomey acquired the land where a small neat, red brick church was built and put into use in 1871. Father William T. Hawe was assigned as the first permanent and resident Pastor in 1873 and soon built the present brick rectory which stands just north of the Church. Famous actor Clark Gable was baptized here in 1901. In 2011 the church was refinished with new carpet, new hardwood floors at the altar, new statues, and the walls were carefully painted to simulate stonework. In 2015 Father Jeff Coning became pastor, and in 2018 Father Tom Gardener became resident priest.
From Dennison, visitors will travel a short distance to its twin city, Uhrichsville, to tour a historic 1880 Queen Anne / Victorian home on North Water Street. It is the home of Mike and Sue Winkler, who purchased it in 2003. The home is also called a "painted lady," which is used to describe Victorian-style homes that are colorfully repainted in three or more colors, embellishing or enhancing the architectural details. The Winklers were a Heroes of Preservation Award recipient in 2018.
The next stop on the tour will be the newest structure in the county -- a newly completed stone and vinyl condominium on Innkeeper Street. Built by Lawver Construction, its enticing open concept design includes a spacious living room with sliding glass doors to the exterior deck and an open kitchen with island bar that leads to the dining area. This beautifully staged new home will be decorated for Christmas and awaiting your visit..
Traveling north from the Twin Cities on Route 250, three of the tour stops are in New Philadelphia. 717 East High Avenue would be the first stop there.
The home of Bud and Melanie Winn for the past 40 years was built in 1912 by the proprietor of the Meyers & Roush Shoe Store. The home's architectural style is American Foursquare, the brainchild of Frank Lloyd Wright. The home was described in Old House Journal as "the epitome of the post-Victorian ‘comfortable house,’" and "about self-containment." Story Book Lane, displayed in Tuscora Park during the Christmas season, was the inspiration of Vic Marsh and was built in the carriage barn on the back of this property in 1956 by Vic, Herb Bichsel, and others. For many years, each nursery rhyme depiction was displayed in a front yard along East High Avenue. The storyboard of "There Was an Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe" was displayed in the front yard of this house.
The next stop is just a few doors down East High Avenue, the Heck home at 507 East High. This Georgian Revival style home was built in 1900 by William T. Alberson, founder of The Daily Times -- the first daily newspaper published in New Philadelphia. Ed and Stacie Heck purchased the home in 2001 and have since completely restored it.
Once more the tour travels from the old to the new, as the last stop in New Philadelphia is on Terrace Road NW, the home of Jim and Heather Novosel. Built in 2004, this 4600 square-foot home is situated on a rocky hillside that makes one think of the Maine coastline. Most of the main floor of this 3-story home has an inviting rustic, Tuscan-style, complete with columns, niches and what appears to be cracked plaster walls thanks to local artist Todd Lehigh.
Presale tickets for the 25th Annual Christmas Tour of Homes are available for purchase and pickup during normal business hours at Geib Funeral Homes in New Philadelphia and Dover, First National Bank of Dennison (downtown Dennison location only), and Pam's Posies on West Third Street in downtown Dover. Also, three locations will be open until noon on Saturday, Dec. 8 -- Geib New Philadelphia, First National Bank in downtown Dennison, and Pam’s Posies.
Advance purchase tickets will also be available online at the Christmas Tour web page (same price, $15) with ticket pickup on tour day at Geib Family Center on East High Avenue in downtown New Philadelphia. Tickets may also be purchase "at the door" (any tour site) on tour day for $18 each.
Finally, the historic Reeves Victorian Mansion and Museum (East Iron Ave, Dover, Ohio) will be open for tours on the same Sunday with discounted admission for Christmas Tour of Homes visitors, as well as free admission for U.S. armed services veterans.
For more information, visit http://tuschha.org (and click on the wreath) or e-mail tours @ tuschha.org.