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Nights Before Christmas Candlelight Tour

Hanover College-owned home
featured on holiday home tour

The house belonged to
the late Mary Louise Greiner

By Laura Goodwin
Contributing Writer

(November 2010) – The “Nights Before Christmas Candlelight Tour of Homes” enters its 29th year with a new selection of interesting and varied homes in Madison. This year’s tour offers four public sites, five private homes and one church.
One new featured stop on the tour will be the Greiner House, on 113 E. Third St. It was the home of Mary Louise Greiner, philanthropist to Hanover College’s art program. She died last April.

Greiner Home

Photo by Laura Goodwin

The Greiner Home at 113 E. Third St.
in Madison was left to Hanover College
when the owner died last April.

This home has quite a diverse and rich past. It was built in the 1830s and started out its life as a Radical Methodist Church. It features the Greek Revival style of architecture. It was later the temporary site of Madison High School.
In 1868, the building was again outfitted as the home of religious services, becoming the Adath Jewish Synagogue. Much later on, it housed repair trucks and served as storage for a local telephone company. It has also housed a business or two, before becoming a family dwelling.
It was remodeled in 1998 to become a home to a single family, although the upstairs has been used as a caretaker’s compartment. It was the final home of Greiner, who left it to Hanover College upon her passing.
Every year the Christmas tour features different homes and locations. Marci Jones, group tour coordinator for the Madison Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, said that homes are brought to their attention as potential candidates for the tour in different ways.
“Sometimes, homeowners will call and ask to be a part of the tour, but this is rare. I usually find them by word of mouth or by walking or driving around and finding houses. Then I contact the homeowner to see if they are interested,” Jones said.
She said she was approached twice earlier this year, concerning featuring the Greiner home. “I had no idea that it was available. We asked and Hanover allowed us to add it to the tour.”

2010 ‘Nights’ Tour

• Nov. 26-27 and Dec. 3-4. 5-9 Fridays; 3-9 Saturdays.
• Private homes on the tour: Greiner Home (owned by Hanover College), 113 W. Third St.; Schoenstein Home, 523 Walnut St.; Lappie Home, 314 Poplar St.; Crawford-Whitehead-Ross Home, 510 W. Main St.; Lieberman Home, 421 W. Second St.
• Tickets: $12.50 adults through Nov. 12, then $15; $5 children ages 5-15. Under age 5 free.
• Information: (812) 265-2956 or 1-800-559-2956 or www.NightsBeforeChristmas.com

Tour goers will see the home’s artist studio and 24-foot ceilings, adorned with holiday decorations. Deb Whistler, associate professor of art for Hanover College, said her department plans to showcase student art in the home during the tour.
Greiner, an avid patron to the arts, also left several endowments and awards to Hanover College. According to Whistler, one award allows them to purchase art for the campus Greiner Art Gallery, while another endowment allows for yearly trips for selected art students, in order to view exhibitions in major cities.
“This year we are going to Chicago to view the Chicago Art Institute. We will also take in the Robie Residence, which is a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home,” she said. This year’s student trip will take place Nov. 5.
Jones said this year’s tour will include a new event, the “Nights Before Christmas Great Cookie Caper.” All proceeds will benefit this year’s Lide White Boys and Girls Club Christmas shopping trip. The event will be held at the Lanier-Madison Visitor’s Center, 601 W. First St. Dates and times of the sale are Nov. 26-27 and Dec. 3-4 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. The sale is first come, first serve and will end if baked goods sell out. Sweets will be available in three different size containers for purchase. Individual cookies will also be available. The Visitor’s Center staff is currently asking for local individuals to donate “homemade” cookies and sweets to the sale, since many donations will be needed. Those wishing to donate baked goods should contact the Lide White Boys and Girls Club directly at (812) 265-5811.
“This is a great opportunity for churches, clubs, organizations and individuals to help the club raise funds for this worthy cause,” Jones said.

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