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Nights Before Christmas Candlelight Tour of Homes

Davis home to show off quilts,
designs, decorations to visitors

By Michella M. Marino
Contributing Writer

(November 2006) – Although John and Linda Davis have resided in their home at 415 W. Main St., Madison, Ind., for only two years, they have done a tremendous amount of work to make it a charming place to visit for both family and friends Now, thanks to the upcoming Nights Before Christmas Candlelight Tour of Homes, the public will also be able to take a peek into the freshly painted mustard colored house, which is known for the content basset hound often spotted on the front porch.

Nights Before Christmas
Candlelight Tour of Homes

• Nov. 24-26 and Dec. 1-3 in downtown Madison, Ind.
• Tickets: $12.50 adults, $5 children ages 5-15 before Nov. 10; $15 after Nov. 10.
• Purchase at the tourism office or online.
• Tour hours: 5-9 p.m. Friday-Saturday; 4-7 p.m. Sunday.
• Nights & Nibbles Express SOLD OUT! (progressive dinner and home tour): Only Dec. 3 tickets still available for $50 each.
• Information: (812) 265-2956 or 1-800-559-2956 or visit: www.nightsbeforechristmas.com.
Private homes on tour:
• The Rhora Home, 514 E. Main St.
• The Hendricks-Beall Home, 620 W. Main St.
• The Newhouse Home, 416 E. Main St.
• The Karem Home, 522 East Main St.
• The Davis Home, 415 W. Main St.

Madison tourism officials contacted the Davises about displaying their 1890 Victorian two-story brick home on the tour. But despite the beauty of the home, Linda Davis said, “We’re not really tour material. We just hope people will like it.”
Despite her humbleness, the Davis home has much to please the eye of the visitor. The entire Davis home will be open for the tour, which is organized by the Madison Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. The tour is scheduled for two weekends: Friday through Sunday, Nov. 24-26; and again on Dec. 1-3.
The tour features five private homes and four public historic sites: the Lanier Mansion State Historic Site, 601 W. First St.; the Francis Costigan House, 408 W. Third St.; the Masonic Schofield House, 217 W. Second St.; and the Jefferson County Historical Society Heritage Center, 615 W. First St. The First Christian Church, 512 W. Main St., will be on the tour as well.
Hospitality Centers providing refreshments and restrooms will be located at Artful Living, 313 W. Main St., and Little People’s Boutique and Fine Threads, 232 E. Main St. The Lanier-Visitor’s Center, 601 W. First St., will also be open for information and restrooms.

‘Nights’ Candlelight Tour
Private Home Descriptions
Rhora Home
• The Rhora Home, 514 E. Main St.: Built in the early 1890s and extensively updated by the previous owners, this classic Victorian home has largely been returned to its original elegance by the present owners. The home features eight fireplaces with their original faux marble paint still intact, original faux burled walnut doors, including a double set of entrance doors, pressed wood moldings, baseboards and pine floors.
The home is furnished with a large collection of Victorian antiques and includes period reproduction wallpaper and window treatments in several rooms. Also featured are a collection of Victorian silver, antique clocks, two mid-19th century crazy quilts and a collection of ship models, including a six foot model of RMS Titanic.
Hendricks-Beall Home
• The Hendricks-Beall Home, 620 W. Main St.: This brick home was built between 1848-1858 and is one of the finest examples of Italianate style in Madison. This home may have been the design of Francis Costigan. The original owner of the home was William Hendricks, and it was later acquired by William Stapp. In the late 1950s, the home was partitioned off for use as a rooming house to accommodate construction workers building the local I.K.E.C. power plant. Having fallen into major deterioration and disrepair, the home was rescued by the Waverly Beall family in 1961.
The Bealls restored the home to its original floor plan, lovingly cared for and maintained family ownership for the last 40-plus years. The home features a large, cast iron, balcony- like roofed porch spanning the front of the façade and accessible only from the interior. The first floor features floor length, six over nine windows which also function as doors.
The current owners, Sam and Lori Snyder, are newcomers to Madison and want to share this grand home with the public as a bed and breakfast. Notice the magnificent mirrors from the Beall family era that grace the library and dining room walls. Homeowner Sam Snyder will delight you with Christmas carols played on the Beall family piano.
Newhouse Home
• The Newhouse Home, 416 E. Main St.: The original portion of this home was built in the 1830s and consisted of two large first floor rooms with two rooms above and an outside gallery porch. The kitchen, like Madison’s historic Sullivan House, was in the basement, which was accessed beneath the stairs. The property was within the original boundaries of the old town of Madison in 1809. The facade is in the Federal style with an Italianate cornice having Gothic details (note the pointed arches).
In the 1870s the Cooperider family lived in this home. Dr. Cooperider was a Civil War veteran (wounded at Stones River) who practiced medicine in Madison for many years. At this time a front parlor, with a bedroom and bathroom above were added. In 1889 a kitchen and porch were added to the rear of the house and a two-story brick carriage house was built at the back of the property, replacing a smaller shed.
This home was purchased by Larry and Pam Newhouse in 2002 and features five fireplaces, 10-foot high double doors separating the formal and informal parlors, much of the original window glass and door locks.
Karem Home
• The Karem Home, 522 East Main St.: This property was built between 1866 and 1882 according to local deed records. Members of the Harry L. Vail family lived here during the 1920s. This family owned local furniture and funeral home concerns. The Herbst family also lived here at one time.
The home is a combination of popular Victorian styles from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The ornate brackets supporting the eaves represent the Italianate style. The steeply pitched roof is evidence of the Gothic Revival style. Indications of the Second Empire style can be seen in the structure’s only dormer, located in the center of the roof and the bargeboard scrollwork around the windows. Elements of the Folk Victorian style can be seen in the spindle work of the front porch.
The home is graced with lovely wrought-iron details on the cresting of the roof and porch roof. A more subdued wrought-iron fence surrounds the property. These details are a reminder of Madison’s past during which at least three foundries produced artful ironwork, which still grace our city’s streets.
Davis Home
• The Davis Home, 415 W. Main St.: This Victorian two story brick home was constructed in 1890. Throughout the years the home has changed hands many times and was owned by the Pritchard family for more than 40 years.
The house has five rooms downstairs, four rooms up, two bathrooms and a sun porch at the rear. An efficiency kitchen from when the house was a two family dwelling remains on the second floor. The side porch and the unique shape of the family room add special charm to the home.
John Davis’ mother made the various handmade quilts displayed throughout the house. There are more than 40 different patterns including around the world, bow tie, wedding rings, log cabin, candy jar and grandmother’s flower garden.
Christmas is one of Linda Davis’ favorite holidays and the decorations inside and out reflects her creativity and love of the Yuletide season.

The Davis house is mainly decorated in a primitive folk art style, and many decorations can be spotted from local shops, such as Something Simple, Margie’s Country Store and The Attic. Their curtains have all been purchased from Michele’s Curtains and Drapes, and almost everything framed in their house has been done by Binzer’s Custom Framing. Linda says she enjoys supporting local business because “when you’re friendly to them, they treat you just like friends and call you by name.”
The Davis home also features handmade quilts uniquely crafted by Betty Jo Davis, John’s mother. The quilts appear in almost all rooms of the house, and every bed has at least two of them decorating it. The tour’s website states that more than 40 different quilt patterns appear throughout the house, including the wedding ring, candy jar, log cabin, grandmother’s flower garden, around the world, and bow tie. The Davises also have a special cabinet that displays and preserves the quilts.
Since the Davis’s really enjoy the Christmas holidays, they plan to decorate the inside and outside of their home for the tour. This includes everything from a live Christmas tree with Hallmark ornaments and candy canes to a white wicker reindeer that will reside in their front yard.
“We go to the extremes for Christmas,” Linda said.
Event coordinator Marci Jones of the Madison Area CVB said that the Nights Tour has been around for 25 years. The group tries hard to not repeat homes on the tour, but if they are, then five years are required to pass before the home can re-appear on the tour. Jones understands that the homeowners are making a big sacrifice to open their homes to the public for the tour, so she hopes tour-goers will be respectful of the homeowners’ property and will also thank them for opening their residences to the public.
Back by popular demand for only its second consecutive year is the “Nights and Nibbles Express,” which is, according to a brochure for the event, “a progressive dinner at some of Madison’s finest restaurants combined with a tour of ‘Nights’ private homes.”
The Madison Trolley will provide the transportation for the evening. The Nights and Nibbles Express will be held on both Sundays of the tour. As a measure of its popularity, the Nov. 26 “Express” is already sold out. The cost is $50 per person for the first 75 paid, and tickets can be purchased at the tourism office.
The progressive dinner was such a hit last year that the CVB decided to hold the Nights and Nibbles Express both weekends of the tour, Jones said.
Along with allowing their home to be toured, the Davises say they will do some touring themselves. Both will participate in the Nights and Nibbles Express, as they did last year. “It’s just great and a good thing for the community,” Linda Davis said. “And it’s a lot of fun.”

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