Candlelight Tour of Homes
Christmas event offers
a look at private, public stops
MADISON, Ind. (November 2004) In late November
and early December, several downtown Madison private homes and public
sites will become the center of attention as part of the annual Nights
Before Christmas Candlelight Tour of Homes. The holiday home tour is
a major part of the citys Christmas offerings, drawing hundreds
of tourists and locals alike. The event is organized by the Madison
Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.
by Laurel Sparks
Wooley displays a wreath she hangs as part of her Christmas decorations.
This years tour will feature five private homes
and four public sites. All of the properties are located in the downtown
historic district, an area of 133 blocks listed on the National Register
of Historic Places.
Among the tour stops is the home of Ross and Deanna Wooley, who live
at 622 W. Second St. Built around l870, the house has been home to the
Wooleys for more than 20 years. Originally, there were only four rooms.
But a renovation added the family room, laundry room, half bath and
screened-in porch. Now the red brick wall that once formed the back
of the house surrounds a wood-burning stove in the kitchen, making this
area of the home especially inviting.
The Wooleys son Patrick was born in l984 and has never lived any
place but downtown. Deanna says they once owned a ranch
home on Telegraph Hill, but she always wanted to move downtown
where the family could walk to the library, the movie theatre and the
The Wooleys first saw their home when it was decorated for Christmas
and were delighted with it from that moment.
The Wooley home is attractively decorated year-round, though Christmas
trees and extra greenery will be in place for the home tour, Wooley
said. On the walls is a great variety of artwork, including originals,
prints, photos and fabric art. Both Ross and Deanna are hobbyists. Some
of the artwork is Rosss own, including a pen-and-ink stippling
of their home. Deanna has collections of miniature sheep and Mary Alice
Hadley Pottery. But her most colorful display is a permanent grouping
of Santas, which Deanna has collected over many years.
Libby Manns home at 409 W. First St. is another stop on the tour.
Mann, who owns and operates the Historic Broadway Hotel & Tavern
and the newly opened Livery Stable reception hall next door, plans to
decorate her home with lavish Christmas lights.
I love to put Christmas lights on everything, said the Mitchell,
Ind., native. My sons, Larry and Ryan, joke that if they stand
still long enough, theyll soon be glowing.
Mann moved to Madison in 1991 when she bought the tavern and renovated
it into what is now a popular downtown restaurant. She lived in one
of the eight hotel rooms upstairs for eight years before buying and
moving into her house on First Street. Her son, Ryan, now manages the
tavern. Mann works at Kings Daughters Hospital & Health
Her brick Colonial Revival home was built in 1900 by Joseph Colgate,
a furniture store owner. Visitors will be able to tour two of the three
floors in addition to the illuminated winter garden.
table setting adorns
the Sullivan House,
an HMI property.
Other private residences participating in the tour belong
to Dick and Dottie Cummings, 511 Broadway St.; Mike and Tammy McKay,
511 East St.; and owner Mike Flints newly opened Lodge Corporate
Apartments, 102 W. Main St.
The public sites on this year tour include Historic Madison Inc.s
Judge Jeremiah Sullivan House at 304 W. Second St.; the Lanier-Schofield
House at 217 W. Second St.; and the Lanier Mansion State Historic Site,
owned and operated by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.
The Schofield House and Lanier Mansion will be open on alternate weekends
of the tour, with the Schofield House available Nov. 26-28, and the
Lanier Mansion open Dec. 3-5 only.
The 1844 Greek Revival home of James Franklin Doughty Lanier is considered
Madisons busiest tourist attraction. Lanier was an industrialist
who helped finance Indianas Civil War debt and later moved to
New York to pursue a career in international banking. Before leaving
Madison, he hired architect Francis Costigan to design and build his
mansion along the riverfront.
The mansion and grounds, which encompass 10 acres, remained in the Lanier
family until 1917 when it was deeded to the Jefferson County Historical
Society. In 1925, the property was turned over to the state of Indiana
to ensure its preservation as a historic house museum. It was designated
a National Historic Landmark in 1994.
Judge Jeremiah Sullivan, a native of Virginia, built his Federal-style
Madison home in 1818. It is considered this citys oldest home.
The basement kitchen, with its brick floor and stone fireplace, was
the working kitchen. On the first floor is a serving kitchen
restored to demonstrate the furnishings of the early l800s.
The Sullivan House will be decorated using all-natural materials. Greenery
will include boxwood, holly, hedge apples and magnolia. Pineapple, traditionally
the symbol of southern hospitality, will also be used, along with several
other kinds of fresh fruit.
The Lanier-Schofield House was built between 1810 and 1817 and is said
to be the first two-story brick inn and tavern in Madison. The predominately
Federal house was built by either William Robinson or Alexander Lanier
the records are not clear. There are records suggesting that
Alexander and Rosetta Lanier, the parents of James F.D. Lanier, first
lived in the house and operated several businesses there. The Lanier-Schofield
House is the birthplace of the Indiana Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted
Masons. On Jan. 12, 1818, 14 Masons representing nine lodges in southern
Indiana convened in the upstairs meeting room to draft the constitution
for the Grand Lodge of Indiana.
Shortly after James Lanier left, the house lost its connection with
the Lanier family. In the 20th century, William Schofield acquired the
house, and it stayed in his family until the 1970s. In 1972, the Masonic
fraternity bought the house and renovated it.
A special exhibit for this years tour will be a 36-doll exhibit
from the collection of Madison native Georgina Yunker Wilson at the
Jefferson County Historical Society Heritage Museum. The museum is located
next door to the tourism office at 615 W. First St.
The dolls are coming home for Christmas, said Joe Carr,
the historical societys executive director. Some years after Wilsons
death, her collection of more than 200 dolls became the property of
the Indianapolis Childrens Museum. Now the Indianapolis museum
is loaning Madison a selection of the dolls in various sizes and costumes
from around the world. In addition to dolls, the display will include
antique toys and gingerbread houses.
The home tour is scheduled for Nov. 26-28 and Dec. 3-5. Tickets are
available at the Madison Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.
To welcome visitors to town, home tour officials have designated three
locations to serve as hospitality sites. They are Christ Episcopal Church,
the Madison Art Club Gallery and Madison Coffee and Tea Co. All will
offer light refreshments and access to restrooms. During the six nights,
carolers will visit various properties, and the historical society plans
to have the Broadway Fountain decorated and lit by the day after Thanksgiving.
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