Club Holiday Tour
home tour showcases
historic homes, public attractions
can explore McClains Civil War era home
Helen E. McKinney
CRESTWOOD, Ky. (November 2006) Bethany McClain
knew she would some day live in Pewee Valley. From the time she was
a small girl visiting her grandparents home on Central Avenue,
she knew she would grow up and one day move to this picturesque town
Holiday Home Tour
Horn-Ross House, 138 Rosswood Dr., a
private home now owned by Steve and Bethany McClain. (top photo)
D.W. Griffith Home, 206 N. Fourth St., La Grange, now owned
by Donna and Ken Schwedler. (middle photo)
Robert Morris Home, 102 Washington St., La Grange. (bottom
Lunch served at the Civic Clubs Clubhouse on Kavanaugh
Rd., Crestwood. Seating Times are 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
Tickets are $15 in advance or $17 at the door.
Contact Anne Murner at (502) 241-5971.
One year ago, McClain and her husband, Steve, bought a
home on Rosswood Drive. They had already been living in the area on
Maple Avenue, but when one paticular house came up for sale, McClain
said she knew it was meant to be.
Known as the Van Horn-Ross House, the pre-Civil War home was built in
1860. The Van Horn family lived in the home until 1903 when the Ross
family purchased it. The Rosses lived there until 1978.
The third family to own the home, the Hintons, owned the home until
the McClains bought it in 2005. Constructed in an Italianate design,
it is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Ive always loved older homes, said McClain. She even
played on the property as a child, poking around in the carriage house.
Her grandparents property butted up against the original property on
which the home sits.
by Helen McKinney
The home is one of three homes on the Crestwood Civic
Clubs Holiday Home Tour and Luncheon. The tour is scheduled from
10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Friday, Nov. 17. The other two homes are considered
public attractions the D.W. Griffith House and the Rob Morris
Home, both in La Grange.
Many of the homes on the tour are of historical significance, said Civic
Club member Linda Patton. Participants are given a map and can choose
which home at which to start.
There are two seating times for lunch: 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Lunch
is served at the Crestwood Civic Clubs clubhouse on Kavanaugh
Road. Holiday decorations adorning the clubhouse will be made by Minish
and Potts and will be for sale.
McClains home will be decorated with a festive Thanksgiving air.
Beautiful old trees and colorful fall foliage surround the four-acre
property. It also contains an English garden, complete with fountain
and pond installed by the previous owners.
Ive tried to bring the outside in, in terms of decorating,
she said. Her dining room wallpaper contains a bird motif, in keeping
with the style of the older home and more original furnishings.
The McClains had to completely redo the entire kitchen, which had not
been remodeled since 1974. They chose older style cabinetry with legs
and used a lot of crown moldings, features often seen in older homes.
They made a conscience effort to preserve the history of the home, said
by Helen McKinney
A huge, winding staircase anchors the three-story home,
which contains three bedrooms, two baths, powder room, living room,
family room, sunroom and kitchen. There are six fireplaces and 12-foot
ceilings. A large wrap-around enclosed front porch completes the look.
As for decorating the 5,400-square-foot home, I like a more livable
décor. Weve added antiques and colors we like to fit our
lfestyle. We love entertaining, said McClain.
The couple has added their own style of simpler, lighter colors and
fabrics throughout most of the home.
But there is still a lot of history contained within the walls of this
home. McClains grandfather had been a friend of Mary Gardner Johnston
(1872-1966). He was a well-known oil painter from Pewee Valley and stepdaughter
of famed author Annie Fellows Johnston.
In one of her artworks, Johnston had painted the original entrance to
the home, said McClain. This painting has been in her possession for
a long time and now hangs on the walls of her home.
I love art, said McClain. She has tried to gather works
by Pewee Valley artists and bring them home to decorate
her walls. While the Ross family was in possession of the home, one
of the children, Herbert, became an accomplished painter.
Herbert Ross (1895-1989) studied art in Chicago, New York and Paris.
Although his primary interest was portrait painting, he also painted
landscapes of his hometown, producing about 100 oil paintings.
Ross has the distinction of participating in a special show at the state
capitol along with other older Kentucky artists just after his 90th
birthday in 1985. This was the last public exhibit by a man who gave
away many of his works. He even painted a portrait of Mary G. Johnston,
and the McClains are fortunate enough to have two of his paintings hanging
in the home in which he grew up.
a look at the other two stops on the tour:
The D.W. Griffith House, 206 N. Fourth
St. D.W. Griffith was born in La Grange in 1875 and had a distinguished
career as a well known film director. His most famous production was
The Birth of a Nation, made in 1915. The Griffith home was
built in 1905 as a single family dwelling but later served as a funeral
home. Griffith purchased the home around 1910 for his mother and aunt,
living there himself from 1935 until 1939.
During his stay there, a sidewalk was built in front of the home, and
his name is still visible where he wrote it in the concrete at the end
of the walk. The present owners are Donna and Ken Schwedler, who bought
the home in 1983. Among the homes furnishings are several artifacts
relating to Griffith and his career.
Rob Morris Home, 102 Washington St.
Built in 1840, this home did not come into possession of the Morris
family until 1862 when Morris came to La Grange as a professor of Ancient
History in the Masonic College (Funk Seminary). Morris and his family
were still living there when he died in 1888.
Morris was the founder of the Order of the Eastern Star, an organization
composed of Master Masons, their wives, daughters, mothers, widows and
sisters for the purpose of promoting charity and good will. The Grand
Chapter of the Kentucky Order of the Eastern Star purchased the home
in 1918. All furnishings in the house date from the period 1862-1888,
and some are original to the Morris family.
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