Residences in the Albany and Old Decatur Historic Districts are not normally open for public viewing except when a select number of homes open their doors during the annual holiday tour. This year's tour features nine stunning homes. Participating homes include the Dancy-Polk House Inn, the McEntire-Bennett House, the Jervis-Ellis House, the Campbell-Grisham House, the Thomas Cottage, the Foust-Rogers House, the Gibson-Henson House, the Papenburg-Hall House, and the Mangrum-Speegle House.
Along with the self-guided tour of homes, neighborhood churches will open their doors for inspirational concerts and refreshments. At 4 p.m., the Huntsville Spiritual Choral will perform at First Presbyterian Church. First United Methodist Church will offer historic sanctuary tours and First Presbyterian and Westminster Presbyterian Churches will feature Carillion Christmas Music. At 4 p.m., St. John Episcopal Church will hold a special presentation on historic Decatur architecture by Scott Schoel, AIA, of Schoel Architecture.
Carriage rides will be offered beginning at 2 p.m. at the Carnegie Visual Arts Center or at Delano Park near the tennis courts. Cost for the carriage ride is $10 per person. Free shuttle bus service will also be available from St. John's Episcopal Church to the tour sites. Many merchants and restaurants throughout the downtown area will also be open during the tour.
Tickets are $20 each and can be purchased in advance at the Decatur/Morgan County Convention & Visitors Bureau, Bank Street Antiques, Trish Land Designs, the Carnegie Visual Arts Center, and Jimmy Smith Jewelers. On the day of the tour, tickets can also be purchased at Trish Land Designs, Bank Street Antiques, Jimmy Smith Jewelers, and the Decatur/Morgan County Convention & Visitors Bureau from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and at the Old State Bank, the Carnegie Visual Arts Center, and St. John's Episcopal Church from 2 to 7 p.m. For group sales, contact the Decatur/Morgan County Convention & Visitors Bureau at 256.350.2028. Proceeds from the tour are used to preserve, protect and enhance the character and legacy of the historic neighborhoods.
Combined, the Old Decatur and Albany Historic Districts represent one of the finest and largest collections of Victorian and earlier 20th century craftsman and bungalow homes in Alabama. The homes date back, in some instances, to the early 1800s, while most were constructed around the turn of the 20th century. For a schedule of events and more information on the historic homes, visit www.decaturchristmastour.com.