GALLIPOLIS — The festivities continued in Gallipolis with the French Art Colony Holiday Tour Friday evening.
Before beginning the tour, visitors were welcomed with refreshments at Riverby, home of the French Art Colony at 530 First Avenue.
Riverby was built in 1855-58 by Dr. Livesay, and subsequently was home to Dr. Nedham in 1880, and Dr. Charles Holzer, Senior, in 1918. In 1971 it became home to the FAC and has served as its headquarters and hospitality site since that time.
The facility was seasonally decorated, with one of the trees displaying a Hallmark ornament collection.
According to Cynthia Sexton, FAC board member and chair of the holiday tour, the group sponsors the event to give people an opportunity to see inside some of the lovely older homes in Gallipolis.
“This tour highlights Gallipolis and gets people in the holiday spirit,” Sexton said. “Visitors have an opportunity to tour the homes, and also get lots of great decorating ideas for their own homes.”
The first home on the tour was also the oldest. Built in 1820, the Lindegarde Home at 330 Third Avenue featured seven themed Christmas trees. Visitors enjoyed this two story home’s Nutcracker Suite, Dickens Village, Cardinal Room, and Ohio State and Coke Room, as well as beautifully decorated fireplaces original to the home. The Nostalgia Room held antique toys and a Lego Village.
The Harvey Home at 218 First Avenue, was built in 1865 and overlooks the Ohio River. The Italianate home’s entrance was welcoming with outside decorations, and inside a warm glow from the two fireplaces captured the ambiance of the home’s historic features that also included original doors. The dining room table was set for guests and an exterior brick wall incorporated in the newly remodeled kitchen effectively tied the old part of the home to the new.
A craftsman style house at 644 Fourth Avenue is now home to the Diddle’s, who have been working to restore the original woodwork and floors. The charming home is complete with built in bookcases, dining room hutch, and the original custom built-in Frigidaire ice box. The kitchen welcomed guests with refreshments and a whimsical Elf/Santa Claus tree in the dining room captured the holiday spirit of the home.
A music room was the feature of the Pennington Home, located at 81 Locust Street. Also built in 1920, the main room featured a grand piano and numerous other musical instruments amid holiday decorations and a beautifully decorated fireplace. Decorations throughout the house invited visitors to explore the upstairs, where a guest room featured the owners grandmother’s antique quilts and Christmas village.
The Gallipolis Railroad Freight Station Museum was also included on the tour, and museum members were on hand with information about the progress of the Station’s restoration that began in 2017. The freight depot was built in 1901 and closed in 1981. The museum’s mission is to showcase Southern Ohio’s railroad heritage, and will house model train displays and railroad memorabilia. Outside a rail yard is being created, and a 1960 Southern State Railroad caboose has already arrived in the yard, later to be joined by a working hand car, restored passenger car, and a 1947 steam engine.
At the close of Friday evenings Tour, Sexton said she was pleased with the turnout and positive response of the visitors, and added, “A lot of work goes into this Holiday Tour, by the homeowners and by our volunteers. We just hope everyone enjoyed themselves.”
In addition to the private homes and railroad museum, other unique locations on the tour included the newly established businesses BoardRoom46, Lucky Cat Designs Co., The Potted Edge, Eighty-Five & Vine, and the expanded Home Place Mercantile.
Lorna Hart is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing.