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November 23, 2012

Farrington’s Grove plans annual Holiday Home Tour

TERRE HAUTE — The traditional Holiday Home Tour for Farrington’s Grove Historical District will be from 1 to 5 p.m. Dec. 2. Six historical homes will be featured on the tour, highlighting the variety of architectural detail found in the neighborhood.

Tickets are $10 each and are available prior to the event at the Vigo County Historical Museum at 1411 S. Sixth St. Tickets can also be purchased at each of the homes on the day of the event.

The following is a list of homes that will be open for this year’s Holiday Home Tour.

1411 S. Sixth St.

Start your tour at the Vigo County History Museum, also called the Sage-Robinson-Nagel home. Built around 1868, this excellent example of the Italianate style is a two-and-one-half story brick residence that features an L-shaped main structure with several rear additions.

William H. Sage a prosperous baker and confectioner, bought the parcel in 1864, and had the house built several years later. In 1875, Sage sold the property to Henry Robinson, a prominent dry goods merchant, who made a number of changes to the house, including the addition of the rear section. Clemens W. Nagel, a meatpacker, purchased the property in 1905, and lived there until 1958, at which time the structure became the property of the Vigo County Historical Society.

The house was individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places on April 11, 1973. This year the Vigo County Historical Society is celebrating 90 years of service to the city of Terre Haute and its history. It will be open from 1 to 4 p.m.

1429 S. Sixth St.

Two doors south of the history museum is Jennie and Travis Vinzant’s home at 1429 S. Sixth St. The house was built in 1884 and has two fireplaces on the first floor. The Vinzants fell in love with the original hardwood floors on the second floor that they refinished and stained in February 2012 when they moved into the house.

There is an interesting little room on the second floor that is believed to have once been a maid’s quarters; now a walk-in closet. The house’s attic is finished and houses a few average-sized rooms. There is a pickling cellar in the basement. One of the previous owners commissioned Terre Haute’s D. Omar “Salty” Seamon to paint a portrait of the home, which that family still has.

1444 S. Center

At the corner of Putnam and South Center, at 1444 S. Center, the W. W. Parsons House is the home of Glen Cass along with his daughter and son-in-law, Carole and Sheldon Buskirk.  

The house was built in 1910 by William W. Parsons, in the “Arts and Crafts” style. Dr. Parsons was a student in the first class of Indiana State Normal School in 1870, and then its president from 1885 to 1921 after it became Indiana State Teachers College. He and his wife, Martina, lived in the house until he died in 1925, after which she lived there until the 1940s when the house was sold to attorney George O. Dix.

Cass purchased the home in 1969. Nearly everything in the house dates to its original construction, from the red oak hardwood floors downstairs to the birch floors upstairs. The bathrooms are mostly original. Most of the light fixtures are original. It has been noted that perhaps W. W. Parsons’ ghost is still present in the house. Carole Buskirk says that both she and her son have seen Dr. Parsons’ ghost. They, and other guests in the house, have heard footsteps, doors opening and experienced water faucets turning on of their own accord.  

When asked if the ghost could be Dix, Carole Buskirk said no, it looks like Dr. Parsons with a long, white beard. Cass and Carole Buskirk assure people that the ghost has only been very friendly and positive.

1226 S. Fifth St.

At 1226 S. Fifth St., Tim and Nicole Murphy’s house is an example of the classic American Foursquare house and was built by local builder Edgar Ainsworth from 1914-1915.

The house was the first of six he built in a row in this block. The house features common Foursquare elements: a broad sweeping front porch, hipped main roof, a centered gable dormer and tapered columns. The entry foyer features a large pocket door, a “piano window,” and a Prairie Style grilled banister and bench seat nook which retains its original patina.

Since its construction, the house has been home to a series of professionals beginning with Judge Presley O. Colliver and wife Laura in 1918. Colliver was a Vigo County judge and a partner in the law firm of Colliver & Wernecke. Judge Colliver helped prosecute several “big bankers” involved in the largest bank scandal in Terre Haute’s history.

The home is now owned by Tim, Nicole and Max Murphy. They have dedicated many hours to restoring the house. Improvements include plaster restoration, interior painting, a bathroom remodel, exterior painting, electrical and plumbing upgrades and a new Prairie Style kitchen which features custom Shaker cabinetry.

For the 2007 Farrington’s Grove Holiday Home Tour, the Murphys unveiled an upstairs “Internet Lounge” that is evocative of a Prohibition Era Speakeasy. Recent projects include restoration of the upstairs sleeping porch, the addition of a large back deck and landscaping.

1201 S. Sixth St.

Maralyn Booher and her late husband, Ray, lived in the home at 1201 S. Sixth St. for several decades. Recently Booher has put the home up for sale as she downsizes to an apartment. Another classic American Foursquare house, its large porch is shaded by tall shade trees in the summer.

It has two fireplaces, one in the living room and one in the dining room, built-in bookcases and china cupboards and lovely windows. A gleaming carved hardwood banister graces the stairs as they lead from the entry foyer to the upstairs bedroom level. There are spectacular hardwood floors throughout. Volunteers from the neighborhood will be “staging” the house and decorating it to celebrate the holiday season.

1200 S. Sixth St.

In 1928, coal company owner Homer Talley and his wife, Carrie, built the stone colonial revival house at 1200 S. Sixth St. In the mid-1960s, their son, Delbert, sold the house to the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity. The fraternity did its own modifications as up to 40 young men a year occupied the house for the next 35 years.

In the winter of 2000-2001, the fraternity membership had shrunk to where they couldn’t maintain the house anymore, so it was sold to Indiana Landmarks. A large, frame addition was demolished from the back, and the house was boarded up. In 2002 the house was sold to Steve and Marie Pontius who renovated it and moved into the house is 2003.  

While the home has been lovingly restored, very few of the original interior details remained when the Pontiuses bought the house. The home boasts oak hardwood floors, 1920s art tile bathrooms, three fireplaces, sleeping porches and a new modern kitchen.

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