Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Historic Concord Holiday Home Tour

(A cute display window downtown.)

December 10th was a busy day in our little town. First there was a holiday Christmas market of local artisans downtown. We drove in and parked and walked the main street. We took Destin with us since he is the best and most well-behaved dog we have. Dressed in his little Santa outfit he was quite the center of attention. We couldn't walk two steps without someone asking to pet him. He loved every minute of it and gladly gave his butt up for a good scratch from anyone that was willing. We did buy something really cool, pic coming later after we hang it. We stopped for a Mocha Coffee at the Press & Porter and sat outside sipping them. (FYI, the Press & Porter is the local coffee house and gets its name from the businesses that occupied the space in the past. Press for the upstairs newspaper, and Porter for the Porter Drugs which was on the bottom level.)

In the afternoon we had tickets to the Holiday Open House Tour. The tour ran from 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM. They even had a trolley just for the event so people didn't have to walk between the houses which were spread over about a mile and a half in the historic district (which starts only two three blocks away from our house). We started walking from our house right at 4:00. The first house was probably 3/4 mile from us. It was one of our favorites. It's called the Franklin C. Niblock House and was built in 1926, a mere youngster compared to a couple of the others. The brochure says it's "a fine example of Colonial Revival."

We walk by this house all the time. It was lovely inside with radiators (I love radiator heat!!) and the updates to the house were done nicely in check with the character of the house. I was able to talk to the homeowners and a two of their sweet teenaged girls.

The next house, "The Paul B. Means House" was a long way from this one, about 3/4 mile. It was the hands-down favorite! It had gone through a total renovation in 2018 when it was purchased by the current owner. The owner, a very dapper gent with a gray ponytail was checking tickets at his front door. He had photos displayed on the walls of what it looked like before and throughout the renovation. What an undertaking! The house inside is absolutley gorgeous and whoever did the decorating for the tour did a wonderful job. I can't say enough good things about the renovation work that they did. In fact, it won the Residential Preservationist of the Year Award in 2019. They certainly did this old house proud. 

Our brochure told us that the house had been commissioned by an attorney (Paul Means) who practiced in Concord during the last three decades of the 19th century. The house was built in 1892 in a Italianate and Queen Anne style with Colonial Revival additions.

A few more houses were sprinkled in before we hit the downtown area, then the houses picked up after that. Some looked so wonderful outside, but inside they were a bit of a disappointment. Either they had done renovations not in keeping with the house, or not done renovations at all leading to very small chopped up rooms. Most of the houses had 8 bedrooms all with a fireplace (non-working now) and servant quarters. Somebody had to light all those fires in the morning for the gentry! Many of them had had kitchens that were not in the main part of the house back then due to the chances of fire and also the heat. Bathrooms were few and they told us that putting in bathrooms in houses this old is no easy task.

Finally we came to the last house on the tour. You might remember seeing my Halloween photos of all the carriages with skeletons? Same house. This is the John Milton Odell house. He was a mill owner and built his house across the street from his own textile mill, now known as the Locke Mill Plaza. It was built between 1882 and 1890. The portion of the porch along the South side was enclosed as a sun room during the 1920s. The interior went through an extensive remodel during the 1960s which removed many of the original details. It was interesting inside, with our favorite room being the sunroom. The owner confided to us that it's nice during the day but colder than, well you-know-what, in the night. It was massive inside, bedroom after bedroom and bathroom after bathroom. 

Of course I had to ask him the obvious question that stood foremost in my mind and that was "Where do you store all those carriages and Halloween things?" Poor man, he shook his head and said if he had a dollar for everybody that has asked him that he wouldn't have to let people tour his house! I felt bad for asking but I was curious, you know? He said behind the house is a huge 1600 square foot carriage house and that is where all of the paraphernalia is. The carriage house was not used much since right after the it was built the automobile came into fashion and horses and carriages went away. Sad.

Another woman who overheard my question said to him "it must take a long time to put everything up and take every thing down." He was quick with his reply — "I work with a skeleton crew" ~ wink. Which is a joke you won't get unless you have seen the Halloween photos. If you want to see what I am talking about, and you didn't see them on FB, ask me to post those photos here on the blog, ok?

Since it was dark by this time and we had walked the whole way (2.5 miles?), we decided to take the trolley back home. The trolley dropped us off two easy blocks from our house. What a fun night we had! Just love our little town of Concord!

Comments:

How great that you got to see the ‘skeleton’ house! Sounds like quite a tour. Thanks for sharing.

I am so glad it has been the positive move you were looking for. ❤️

Carolyn, yes, it was pretty cool to see inside and get to talk to the owner. He was one and the same that we saw sitting on his steps that day. Thanks for commenting!

Donna, we are glad too! We are indeed happy here. Come and see us someday! You need a vacation. Thanks for commenting!

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