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Getting in the Spirit

Historic Barbour House to shine once again with Christmas décor

Tinsel, Twine & Spirits opens on Washington Street

LA GRANGE, Ky. (November 2016) – For a long time, La Grange business owner Ellie Troutman has had her heart set on opening a holiday-themed store. Her wish has come true, just in time for the holiday shopping season with the launch of Tinsel, Twine and Spirits.
“I wanted to do a holiday or Christmas, house. I love a boutique-style business, and this was just the right fit,” said Troutman.
As with many people, Christmas is her “most favorite time of the year,” she said. “I have up to 30 trees in my own house, and I sell a lot of Christmas stuff at the 1887 Corner Store.”
Troutman is heavily invested in the economy of Oldham County. She also runs The 1887 Corner Store, the La Grange Antique Mall, The Treasured Child and Absolutely Fabulous, in addition to Windy Meadows Equestrian Center in Oldham County.
Tinsel, Twine and Spirits will be open nine months of the year, April through December, Troutman said. She will spend the other three months of the year traveling to markets to look for items to stock her stores.

Photo by Don Ward

The William T. Barbour house in La Grange, Ky., has been bought by Randy and Ellie Troutman, who have converted it into a Christmas retail shop called Tinsel, Twine & Spirits.

She has something for every taste, describing her offerings as “vintage to modern,” “extravagant to simple” to “full-blown Hollywood” – whatever a customer wants. Troutman will also offer seasonal décor when appropriate at other times of the year, such as Easter and Kentucky Derby. Christmas items will remain available throughout the year.
The business had a grand opening on Oct. 8, but an official Open House will be held on Nov. 12-13 – the same weekend as the Arts Association of Oldham County’s Arts at CityPlace event just a block away at CityPlace. Troutman plans to have specials throughout the holiday season as well.
The business is located one block off of Main Street, within the La Grange historic district in the William T. Barbour House at 203 E. Washington St. William Todd Barbour (Sept. 16, 1791 - June 19, 1846) was prominent in the establishment of La Grange.
Barbour was appointed as commissioner to draft plans for a courthouse, jail and clerk’s office at Westport. He was then appointed by Oldham County Court on May 23, 1827, to be surveyor to lay off the new town of La Grange into streets and lots. On July 30, 1827, the first 56 of 96 town lots were sold at public auction.
He married twice, first to Mary Berry Taylor in 1815 in Shelby County, Ky. Mary was born in 1800 at Spring Hill in Oldham County and died in 1833 in Oldham County.
Barbour then married Eleanor Madison Taylor, daughter of George Taylor and Mary Taylor. Eleanor died in 1883 in Rockville, Miss. Barbour is buried at Spring Hill Cemetery with his first wife, Mary. After he died in June 1846, his house became the women’s dormitory of the Funk Seminary.
This is not the first time the home has been turned into a successful business selling Christmas items. Years ago, Linda Foster operated it as Christmas in Kentucky, a popular destination spot for many shoppers.

Photo by Don Ward

A plaque on the outside wall tells of the building’s historical significance.

Troutman said she has already seen an interest by visiting women’s groups. “They are happy it’s open in this location. Many have great memories of it before, but they also like that its new and fresh.”
After the Open House, the store hours will be from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursday through Saturday or by appointment. Troutman is currently running the store by herself but plans to hire additional help.
The business name itself has a nostalgic holiday ring to it. “Tinsel” suggests sparkly decor, “Twine” was used to wrap packages at one time, and “Spirits” are “for the ghosts in the house,” Troutman said.
The home has been on the Spirits of La Grange Ghost tours for many years, and many locals recall Foster’s fascination with those from another realm whom she said remained within the house. It’s possible a little of Foster’s “spirit” remains in the haunted and historic house as well, just in time for the holiday season.

• For more information, call (502) 226-2232.

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