Annual tour showcases 3 local houses
Published 12:01 am Sunday, November 30, 2014
Will and Fran Nolen won’t have a shortage of things to talk about with the Miss-Lou residents who tour their house next week as part of the annual Friends of the Library Christmas Tour.
The Nolens, who live at Highpoint on Linton Avenue, collect a variety of items — pottery, art, belt buckles and German steins, to name a few.
No rhyme or reason exists behind any of the particular collections, Will said, other than an interest in gathering unique items that tell a story.
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“We started with some antiques, and we’ve been just basically collecting those and other things ever since,” Will said, surrounded by antique items in his home. “We have quite a few collections.”
The Nolans will be one of three houses opening their doors from 2 to 5 p.m., Dec. 7.
The annual event serves as the largest fundraiser for the Friends of the Armstrong Library, a group formed to assist in raising funds for the Natchez library, president Maria Bowser said.
“We absolutely appreciate the generosity of the Natchez people in opening their homes for us,” Bowser said. “We try to pick different homes each year, and we’re particularly excited to have all these houses this year.”
Nolan said she believes the event is a favorite among locals because it offers an inside look into houses in the community.
“All of us in Natchez are looky-loos,” Nolan said, laughing. “We all like to see what these houses look like on the inside, but it’s also a good chance for people to get ideas for how they can decorate their homes for the upcoming holidays.”
The Nolan’s house, which was constructed in 1890 and is on the National Registrar of Historic Places, will have some Christmas decorations for the event, but the antique items will likely be the topic of most conversations.
“He’ll be giving the long tours of the house,” Fran said, pointing at her husband. “I give a much shorter tour.”
The Nolans lived for three years in Nigeria and have traveled extensively throughout the world, acquiring a number of collections along the way.
The collections include American Indian and African baskets, Roseville and Van Briggle pottery, Fenton and crystal glassware, as well as a variety of wooden items including boxes, bowls and pipes.
Highpoint has been the home of Will and Fran Nolan for three years.
They refinished floors and added 7-and-a-half-inch crown molding throughout as well as ceiling medallions in each room.
The five rooms downstairs are used as living areas, and the four rooms upstairs are offices and bedrooms. The bathrooms, except for two, were originally porches or balconies that were enclosed.
The other two houses on tour include The Callon Home at 104 Old Plantation Road and The Jackson House at 606 N. Union St.
Fred and Karen Callon moved into Fred’s family house in 1986.
Several houses form the Callon compound on Old Plantation Road, including the house next door, in which Fred grew up.
The house they reside in now was built sometime in the 1960s and is decorated inside and out each year with a plethora of Christmas items.
The house is an example of the “suburbs” built in the early 1960s as Natchez grew beyond downtown. The house sits on six acres that was part of the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians.
The Jackson House is seen as a locally significant example of the Colonial Revival style built in the old northern suburbs of the City of Natchez.
The historic significance of the house is based on its association with Natchez businessman Earnest H. Jackson, as well as its architectural significance on its high degree of architectural finish, documented construction date and architectural integrity.
Despite conversion to apartments in the mid-20th century, the house retains most of its original millwork and parquet floors.
The Jackson House was built in the newly popular Colonial Revival style in 1899, the same year that Pearl Barker Jackson (1873-1938) bought the corner lot.
The 1900 federal census documents show Earnest H. Jackson and his wife Pearl were living at 606 N. Union St. in 1900.
The house was divided into apartments and used as rental property until its recent purchase and restoration by Dan and Jan Shiells, residents of Santa Barbara, Calif., and Natchez.
Dan first came to Natchez as an archival intern in a joint program of the Historic Natchez Foundation and California State University, Northridge.
Tickets to the Library Christmas Tour are $15 or $25 for two, both prices include tours of all three houses.
Tickets can be purchased in advance at the library, located at 220 S. Commerce St., or at the door of any of the houses on the day of the event.
Tickets are also available at Natchez Pilgrimage Tours at the Natchez Visitor Reception Center.
Cash or checks are only accepted at the houses the day of the event.