Christmas Tour raises funds for Natchez library

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 2, 2001

NATCHEZ – The Friends of the Library held its sixth annual Christmas Tour of Homes Sunday afternoon, raising $2,050 before expenses for the nonprofit group, up from $1,870 last year.

&uot;This money goes for things not included in the library’s budget,&uot; said Jeanie Wedgeworth, president of Friends of the Armstrong Library. Last year, items bought with proceeds from the tour included a microfilm reader and a set of Census data microfilm.

Houses featured on this year’s tour were the Mose Beer House and Highpoint, at 214 and 215 Linton Ave., respectively; and The Towers, on Myrtle Avenue just off Oak Street.

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Highpoint, a Victorian-style house owned by Frank Bauer and John Davis, featured angels, Santas and a Christmas tree decorated with old-fashioned wooden and glass ornaments.

Holiday decorations at the Mose Beer House, owned by Albert and Coleen Garfield, included a room filled with Christmas trees decorated in patriotic themes by local schoolchildren.

Decorations ranged from handmade American flag and angel ornaments to a paper chain with the name of a victim of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on each link.

And last, but not least, tour participants stopped by The Towers to view renovations that owners Russell and Maija Jones have made to the house.

Sunday afternoon’s tour marked the first time in many years that the house, which dates back to before the Civil War, has been open for public tours.

Hostesses from Friends of the Library and the Scottish Rite Society, as well as the Joneses themselves, pointed out the finer points of the house’s renovations and history.

Those included such touches as the lace window treatments, which were found in the house’s attic, to antique photographs that were restored and used in the house’s living room.

Renovations &uot;have taken almost four years,&uot; said Maija Jones. &uot;And we were up to the last day trying to paint the front.&uot;

But the hard work paid off, judging from the comments of some tourgoers.

&uot;It’s been beautifully restored,&uot; said Sherry Hanson of Natchez.

&uot;It’s beautifully done, light and airy but tastefully done,&uot; added Jane Gardner, who was looking around the house’s den. &uot;And it looks like it’s comfortable to live in – not stuffy.&uot;

But perhaps the event was most meaningful to Routh S. Crowell, who remembers visiting friends of her family at the house when she was just eight years old.

&uot;The house was nice back then, but it’s exquisite now,&uot; Crowell said.

Guests sampled refreshments and listened to old-fashioned music from the player piano.

And the house was decorated for the holidays with poinsettias in almost every room, and a Christmas tree decorated with gold and red ribbons and ornaments.