Tour to Visit Gardens in Historic District

As reported in the Parkersburg News and Sentinel:

The annual Spring Victorian Home Garden Tour and Tea will be June 4 and 5 in the Julia-Ann Square Historic District.

The self-guided tour will be 1 to 4 p.m. June 4 and 5, with a “Tea On the Lawn” on June 4 only at 112 13th St.

The cost is $15 on June 4 for the tour and tea and $10 on June 5 for the tour. Children ages 10 and under are admitted free with an adult.

During the tour, a plant sale will be held at the “Castle” at 1217 Ann St. The Parkersburg Art Center has loaned several paintings done by local artists which will be on display at the tea. Artists Lynda Rhodes and Mike Penn will be present in person. Rhodes will have a display of her art for viewing and sale at 112 13th St., while Penn will be at 1117 Juliana St.

Photographer Angie Adams will be available to take pictures of tour guests in the garden of the Chancellor-Burwell-Lowe House at 904 Juliana St.

For ticket information, call Sandy Wilson at 304-483-3690 or Judy Smith at 304-422-9861. Tickets will also be sold at each of the featured gardens on Juliana and 13th streets on the day of the tour.

On Saturday, members of the Wood County Master Gardeners will be giving demonstrations at some of the homes involving the propagation of several types of flowers during the event.

The four main gardens on the tour include: the Caswell-Smith House at 1024 Juliana St.; the Laughery House at 1012 Juliana St.; Clemens-Bungard House at 1006 Juliana St.; and the Chancellor-Brown House at 904 Juliana St.

At 904 Juliana St., the 1878 Second Empire house was built by William Chancellor, who also built the Blennerhassett Hotel, and features a traditional garden.

At 1006 Juliana St., the front yard is newly landscaped with a shade-planted courtyard leading into the formal garden at the back. There is a pergola which is used for entertaining and relaxation and the garden also featured a stocked pond and a vegetable garden.

At 1024 Juliana St., visitors will see the 1885 home, the garden decorated with an “Alice in Wonderland” theme and the restored carriage house with antique automobiles on display.

At 1012 Juliana St., visitors will see a garden based on an English cottage garden, with paths, a wooden bench and cherub accents made from stone. It is designed so different plants bloom at different times through the summer, so there is always something blooming.

The other three locations will host the special activities of the tour, including the artists, plant sale and the Victorian Tea: the Deming-Hayhurst House at 1117 Juliana St.; the Van Winkle-Duranti House at 112 13th St.; and the Van Winkle-Wix House at 1209 Ann St.

All proceeds benefit Julia-Ann Square Historic District projects.

Category : In The News

Turnout high for Julia-Ann Square Houses

PARKERSBURG – More than 200 people traveled through the Julia-Ann Square Historic District on Saturday to see five historic homes decorated for the upcoming holiday season during the annual Victorian Christmas Home Tour and Tea.

“The turnout has been fantastic,” said tour guide and district member Becky Johnston. “We’ve been very busy today, which is wonderful.”

This was the first year for Terri and Leon Miller to have their home, the Gale-Miller House at 1312 Market St., on the tour.

“I have always wanted to do the tour and never thought my house was ready for it,” said Terri Miller. “This year I just decided it was time.”

The Gale-Miller House is technically outside the boundary of the historic district, but the district members chose to allow the Millers to participate because their home follows the same spirit of preserving the spirit of the home, the city of Parkersburg and the past.

“As a guest house on the tour, we feel very blessed to be part of this year’s tour,” Terri Miller said. “We don’t have an organized historical organization on Market Street, so having the Julia-Ann Square Historic District include us is wonderful.”

While the Millers decorated their home with 10 Christmas trees, the Casto-Harris House, at 1226 Juliana St., was filled with 16 Christmas trees.

Guests were greeted by the first tree in the entryway and the second in the front parlor; the small tree in the sitting room had an angel theme, there was also a “Santa’s workshop” tree.

“Each tree has its own theme,” said homeowner Kathryn Harris. “I always put them out for Christmas and this year I decided to share them.”

This was not Harris’ first time opening her home to the tour; she previously participated in the Christmas tour in 2004.

“I love Christmas, it’s my magical time of year,” she said. “I guess I’m just a big kid.”

Parkersburg residents Cherie Moore, Gwen Bush and Robin Baylous toured the five homes on this year’s tour as a girls’ day activity.

“We like to get together on Saturdays and do something fun and we thought this (tour) was something different and fun,” Baylous said.

This year’s tour also featured the Dils-Creel House at 1103 Juliana St., the Boreman-Bragg House at 1201 Juliana St. and the Governor Stevenson-DeKlavon House at 1040 Juliana St.

Saturday’s tours were escorted by guides in period costume along with a Victorian tea. The homes will be open again today for self-guided tours from 1 to 5 p.m., although there will be no tea held.

The cost for today’s program is $10. Tickets for the self-guided tours may be purchased at any of the participating homes.

Proceeds will go to improvements to the historic district.

Read more:   Parkersburg News & Sentinel

Category : In The News

Victorian Christmas Home Tour & Tea

PARKERSBURG – The Julia-Ann Square Historic District will showcase five historic homes during its annual Victorian Christmas Home Tour and Tea on Dec. 4 and 5 in Parkersburg, with most along three blocks of Juliana Street, the first of several such tours scheduled in December throughout the Mid-Ohio Valley.

On Dec. 4, the tours will be escorted by guides in period attire, homeowners will share the history of their homes, and guests will attend a lavish Victorian Tea. The cost is $15.

The Tours and Teas will begin at First United Methodist Church at 10th and Juliana streets at 1 and 3 p.m. with a Candlelight Tour at 6 p.m.

On Dec. 5, the tour will be self-guided from 1 to 5 p.m. and there will be no tea. The cost is $10 with children ages 10 and under admitted free when accompanied by an adult.

Proceeds will go to improvements to the Historic District. For information and reservations call 304-422-9861 or 304-485-7164. Tickets can be purchased online at

This year’s tour will feature the Dils-Creel House at 1103 Juliana St., the Boreman-Bragg House at 1201 Juliana St., the Governor Stevenson-DeKlavon House at 1040 Juliana St., the Casto-Harris House at 1226 Juliana St. and the Gale-Miller House at 1312 Market St.

The Dils-Creel House, at 1103 Juliana St., was built around 1899 by the Dils family in the Colonial Greek style. It features four Corinthian columns at the entrance and the three-story home features 11 rooms, two staircases, eight fireplaces and a ballroom.

The Boreman-Bragg House at 1201 Juliana St., was purchased by Arthur Boreman, first governor of West Virginia, as a rental property and later was willed to his daughters but he never lived there himself. A copy of the lease signed by Boreman is framed and displayed in the entranceway of the home. The home is decorated for the holiday in Victorian themes.

The Governor Stevenson-DeKlavon House, at 1040 Juliana St., is still undergoing renovations by owners Jim and Julie DeKlavon. The home – once owned by West Virginia’s third governor William E. Stevenson – was on the tour last year in an earlier stage of renovation and the owners had hoped to have it completed but other projects have slowed, but not halted, the process. Visitors will be able to see some of the work that has been done and continues toward the restoration of the historic home.

The Casto-Harris House, at 1226 Juliana St., has 16 Christmas trees decorated throughout the home, with each room decorated in themes from “Santa’s workshop” and Victorian to “angel tree” and “harvest tree.”

The Gale-Miller House, at 1312 Market St., while just outside the boundary of the historic district, follows the same spirit of preserving the spirit of the home, the city of Parkersburg and the past. The home is decorated for the holidays in a mix of themes, primarily Victorian on the first floor, while the kitchen follows a country theme.

Several other holiday home tours are scheduled in Wood and Washington counties in December.

The ReStore Marietta Holiday Loft Tour will be 5 to 8 p.m. Dec. 4 in downtown Marietta.

In Belpre, the Belpre Womens Club Town and Country Holiday Tour of Homes will be 1 to 5 p.m. Dec. 5. Tickets are $10 and advance tickets are available at Neff’s Country Loft and Curves of Belpre.

Tickets may also be purchased at each stop on the day of the tour. The tour will include four homes, the Farmers Castle Museum on Ridge Street and the Unicorn Wine Guild in Washington Square Plaza. Refreshments will be available at the museum and the Wine Guild.

On Dec. 12, several local homes will be featured in the 2010 Holly Trail Tour of Homes from 1 to 5 p.m. in Parkersburg and Vienna.

The GFWC Parkersburg Woman’s Club is organizing the tour, which also includes stops at the Parkersburg Womans Club House at 323 Ninth St., the Parkersburg Art Center at 725 Market St. and four residential homes – three in Parkersburg and one in Vienna. Admission is $8 and tickets are available at any of the homes on the day of the tour, from club members and at Hallmark in Grand Central Mall in Vienna.

The homes are: Rammy and Debbie Gold, 43 Wyndemere, Vienna; Tom and Jan Claus-Boulet, 15 Parkview Wey, Parkersburg; Julia Soja, 10 Hamlet Close, Parkersburg; and Randy Durst, 1357 Market St., Parkersburg.

Read more:  Parkersburg News & Sentinel

Category : In The News

Historic Guide to Parkersburg area now available

PARKERSBURG – The new Historic Guide to Wood County is now available to the public.

Ten thousand copies of the 31-page brochure will be in circulation.

“It’s another tool to get visitors to the area,” Steve Nicely, director of the Greater Parkersburg Convention & Visitor’s Bureau told Wood County commissioners. Nicely also announced the state Civil War Trails wants to place a second marker at Fort Boreman Hill Historic Park.

“This one would be placed on the other side of the overlook, if the county commission gives permission,” Nicely said.

The commissioners agreed to allow the sign to be posted. There is a $200 annual maintenance fee. The Civil War Trails is a multi-state program that identifies, interprets and creates driving tours of Civil War campaigns and sites including interpretive markers with maps, illustrations and text. Fort Boreman Park is located just off U.S. 50 at the Marrtown Road exit.

“We cannot overstate the importance of historical tourism. It is the number one fastest growing tourism market,” Commissioner Rick Modesitt said.

“Heritage tourism is growing, and, according to market trends those who visit historical sites tend to stay longer, and spend more money,” Nicely said. “We hope to provide this guide as a tool to attract more of these visitors to our area, and we will soon see the kick off of the Civil War sesquicentennial.”

The brochure contains information on the history of Wood County and the city of Parkersburg, history and information on local transportation’s role in the development of statehood, the oil and gas industry history, and the part the area played in the Civil War, as well as lists and photos of historic landmarks and sites in the county.

There are also photos and information on homes in the Julia-Ann Square Historic District, as well as histories and information on Belleville, Bickel Mansion, Blennerhassett Island Historic Park, Avery Street Historic District, Fenton Glass, Fort Boreman Park, Henderson Hall, Henry Cooper Log Cabin Museum, Neal Station, James Stephenson’s House, Parkersburg City Park, Phelps-Tavenner House, Sumnerite African-American History Museum, Tillinghast Cook House, Tomlinson House, Washington Avenue District, and the Veteran’s Museum.

There is also a listing of area historic cemeteries.

For more information, contact the CVB at 350 Seventh Street, 304-428-1130, or go to the bureau’s website at:

Read more:   Parkersburg News and Sentinel

Category : In The News

Restored carriage house attracts attention

PARKERSBURG – A restored carriage house behind the former Harnett House Bed and Breakfast has been the center of attention this year in the Julia-Ann Square Historic District.

Homeowners Norm and Judy Smith worked the last two years to restore the original carriage house behind their home at 1024 Juliana St., which is showcased during the Victorian Christmas Homes Tour and the Garden Tour in the summer.

“We wanted to keep the integrity and the look of the original property,” said Judy Smith. “Before we worked on it, the carriage house was literally falling down around us.”

Before construction could begin, the plans were approved by the Architectural Review Board. The carriage house now stores the couple’s antique cars and a 1907 Babcock Surrey horse-drawn carriage.

Built in 1885, the Smiths’ home was originally owned by William Caswell, a lumber baron and founding member of the West Virginia Republican Party. The couple purchased the five-story Victorian house three years ago and began working on several construction projects, including an elevator installed last year.

“The impetus for the carriage house was the fact that we had nowhere to put our vehicles,” said Judy Smith. “The structure had ivy growing all over it, the slate roof was falling down, and the ceiling was crumbling. Basically it was unsafe.”

Two years ago, the Smiths collaborated with friend and neighbor Fred Guerriere to restore the carriage house and add on an extra 1,000 feet for use as a garage.

“We basically came up with the design plans, and our friend restored the space,” said Norm Smith. “We tried to incorporate some historic details and design.”

The red-brick carriage house now has a new shingled roof, ceiling, cupola, stairs and weathervane, as well as a completely refurbished interior.

Gold crown molding and stenciled design along the ceiling mimic the house’s Victorian style. A pressed concrete, cobblestone walkway was installed in the spring, and an extra 1,000 square feet were built on to the original structure to house the Smiths’ antique cars, including a 1929 Roadster.

The original two-story carriage house, connected to the addition, stores the couple’s prized horse-drawn carriage, which was on display for both the Victorian Christmas Homes Tour and the Garden Tour this summer.

“We bought it about a year ago while we were in the process of restoring the carriage house,” said Judy Smith. “Whenever Norm has the doors open, people strolling by like to come up and take a look.”

While the Smiths have not gone as far as buying a horse to pull the carriage, they hope to one day feature it in local parades. For now, a life-sized, 300-pound aluminum horse takes the place of a real horse in front of the carriage.

“We decorated him for the holidays, and we even put wheels on the bottom of his hoofs so we could pull him, along with the carriage. We like to display him out in front of the house for the Garden Tour,” said Judy Smith.

The couple affectionately named him Butterworth – Caswell’s middle name.

“We are really happy with the end result. Everyone seems to love it,” she said. “The house really feels complete now.”

While the Smiths are taking a break this year from the upcoming Victorian Christmas Homes Tour, the home and carriage house are featured in the Garden Tour in June as well as the many historic walking tours through the Julia-Ann Square Historic District.

“For us, almost every day is a tour day. We show it to bus tours, relatives, friends, and really anyone who happens to be walking by. Sharing the house and its history is the reason we love living here,” she said.

Read more:  Parkersburg News and Sentinel

Category : In The News

Garden Tour & Tea 2011

Julia-Ann Square Historic District presents:

The Annual Victorian Garden Tour and Tea

June 4 and 5, 2011

From 1 PM to 4 PM

We hope you will join us to experience the beautiful gardens of the Julia-Ann Square Historic District.  The lush, mature landscaping throughout the neighborhood is at its best during our popular Garden Tour.

Visitors may pick up some new ideas for their own gardens,  talk to experienced gardeners in the area,  and enjoy a relaxed Tea with district residents and friends!

Houses and Gardens on the tour include:

  • The Chancellor-Burwell-Lowe Garden, 904 Juliana Street;

  • Clemens-Bungard Garden, 1006 Juliana Street;

  • Laughery Garden, 1012 Juliana Street;

  • The Caswell-Smith House and Garden, 1024 Juliana Street.

The tea will take place at the Van Winkle-Hitteshew-Duranti Garden, 112 13th Street, on Saturday, June  4.


[EVR_CATEGORY event_category_id=”GardenTour”]

This year’s tour will highlight past and present artists, including Julia-Ann’s own resident artist, Mike Penn. His drawings of the gardens will be available on note cards for purchase. Photographer, Angie Adams, will be available at the tea to pose guests in period hats and accessories for a keepsake picture from the district.

The district will also have plants available for purchase from its gardens at the Wix Garden. 1217 AnnStreet.

All proceeds benefit Julia-Ann Square Historic District projects.

Category : Events

Turnout large for block party

The Julia-Ann Square Historic District is a close-knit neighborhood in Parkersburg. Residents socialize with their neighbors and work together on community projects.

The roughly 12-block neighborhood near downtown held the first of four yearly block parties last Saturday evening on West 12th Street. Hamburgers and chicken were grilled in the courtyard of the Old Carriage House Bed and Breakfast, which is up for sale by innkeepers Robert and Karen Francis. Residents brought chairs to sit in the blocked-off street near a fire pit and a long table filled with desserts and covered dishes brought to the party. Carter Rice played the cello on a nearby porch.

Jeremy Bungard, historical district social events coordinator, estimated 75 people attended the spring block party, one of the largest turnouts in years. It was open to district homeowners and renters, Bungard said.

Read more coverage of the event at the Parkersburg News and Sentinel…

Category : In The News

State Officials tour projects receiving Governor’s Community Participation Grant funds

“We came to Parkersburg to visit some of the projects we have invested in. These grants are for public projects that benefit the community, like nonprofits. The main focus is to provide funding for things that improve the communities. We want to see the difference the projects have made to citizens,” said Kelly Workman with the West Virginia Department of Commerce Governor’s Community Participation Grant program.

The state officials visited the Julia-Ann Square District, Mountwood Park, the Boys and Girl’s Club, stopped by several city projects and West Virginia University.

Wood County Assessor Rich Shaffer, who lives in the Julia-Ann Historic Square, said improvements in the area have also been a boon for tourism.

“We have garden tours, Christmas tours, bus tours. Walking tour brochures are also available at the courthouse, Blennerhassett Hotel, Convention and Visitors Bureau, and in boxes at each corner of the district,” Shaffer said.

Read more coverage on the tour at the Parkersburg News and Sentinel.

Category : In The News

Groups tour local homes

More than 200 people took advantage of the first day of the tenth annual Julia-Ann Square Historic District’s Victorian Christmas Tour Saturday.

“We have been very pleased with the turnout,” said tour guide and district member Deborah Shaffer. “We are averaging 15 people per group, which is pretty high.”

Fellow tour guide Jeremy Bungard said the number of people on the tour is up from previous years.

“It’s been low in the past, but this is really good – even with the weather,” he said of the event, which continues today in the historic district located adjacent to downtown Parkersburg.

A tour bus of people from the Akron-Canton area broke into two groups to walk through the six homes Saturday.

“I’m absolutely impressed with the homes,” said Betty Hays of Canton.

Hays said she attended one of the historic district’s garden tours in the past and heard about the Christmas tour and said she made sure to come back.

“I’m glad to have come back to Parkersburg for this,” Hays said. “It is more than worth it.”

The six stops in the tour include: David and Ann Bennett, 1033 Juliana St., Jim and Julie DeKlavon, 1040 Juliana St. (the Gov. Stevenson home); Bill and Carol Wotring, 924 Ann St.; Judy and Norman Smith, 1024 Juliana St.; Rick and Ruami Dyck, 1024 Ann St.; and The First United Methodist Church, 1001 Juliana St.

“We had been part of the tour in Belpre in the past, but this is our first year in the Julia-Ann Historic District tour,” said Carol Wotring, who along with her husband, Bill, opened up their 924 Ann St. home. “I think the tour helps the district with projects and I would love to be part of it in the future.”

David and Ann Bennett chose this year as their first to show their home at 1033 Juliana St. after having participated in garden tours. The house was originally two homes that have recently been opened up into one.

“It took us six years to get our home to the point where we could open it to the tour and we are pleased to be a part of it,” Ann Bennett said.

After touring several of the homes, Hays said there is no single one she enjoyed most, but she was excited about the Stevenson House.

“Right now it is gutted, but the (homeowners) promised next year everything will be finished,” Hays said. “I am very excited to come back next year to see the progress.”

Earlier this year, Jim and Julie DeKlavon purchased the home of third West Virginia Gov. William E. Stevenson at 1040 Juliana St., and began doing work. The couple did exterior work before the onset of the winter months and had to do work inside, on the front turret.

Read more coverage of the 2009 Christmas Tour at the Parkersburg News and Sentinel.

Category : In The News

Local gardens open to public

Several homes in the Julia-Ann Square Historic District opened their gardens to visitors Saturday to raise money for neighborhood improvements and changes.

Five of the six homes and gardens on the tour were first-time participants of the district’s Victorian Garden Tour and Tea, which was held from noon to 6 p.m.

“We usually have it as a two-day event, but decided to try and see what we could do with it being one day with longer hours,” said organizer Ann Bennett.

The amount of money raised by the district’s Victorian Garden Tour and Tea was nearly as much as what was raised last year, Bennett said.

“We did nearly as well in one day (this year) as we have in the previous weekends,” Bennett said, adding last year’s event raised about $1,500 for the district.

All of the money raised through the sale of garden tour tickets, plants and DVDs of past tours goes back into the neighborhood.

Tour stops included the homes at: 1033 Juliana St., also known as the Davidson-Bennett home that is currently a bed and breakfast; 1110 Ann St., known as the Neal home; 1100 Ann St., owned by Sandy and Randy Gutherie; 936 Juliana St., owned by Suzette Toblin; 111 11th St., which was built between 1872 and 1874 and was one of the original homes used to have the area declared as an historic district; and 940 Juliana St., known as the Acton-Martin House.

All of the stops on the tour were within walking distance, which Bennett said was a plus.

“There are times you go on a garden tour and the homes are so far apart you have to drive,” she said. “This way people can enjoy the summer breeze.”

The district has used money from such tours for improvements such as installing period lighting, banners and archways at the entrances of the district. The district is the largest and most historic in the state and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977.

Barbara LaCava brought her mother, Artist Taylor, and 4-year-old granddaughter Lily on the garden tour from their home in Ravenswood to enjoy the sunny weather and flowers.

“I own a Victorian home and have several flower gardens, but I always like looking at other people’s gardens, too,” LaCava said. “I actually came on the tour to get some ideas for my gardens – I even brought my camera.”

Read more news coverage of the 2009 Garden Tour at the Parkersburg News and Sentinel.

Category : In The News

Arches added to neighborhood entrances

Thanks to the generosity of the many people who supported our fundraising efforts, Julia Ann Square was recently able to build four new archways to mark the entrances to the historic district.   A dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on August 22, 2008,  which was attended by Parkersburg Mayor Bob Newell,  West Virginia Secretary of State Betty Ireland,  Wood County Commissioner Rick Modesitt and district president Lillian McCrary.  Residents and friends of the district also attended.

Category : In The News &News

Julia-Ann Square raises funds

Several residents of the Julia-Ann Square Historic District opened their homes or gardens to visitors over the weekend to raise money for further neighborhood improvements.

The district’s Victorian Home and Garden Tour and Tea — held Saturday and Sunday — as well as a bus tour Friday, helped net around $4,400 for the district, said resident Lillian McCrary.

“We do put everything back into the neighborhood. We want to make it a nicer place to be,” she said.

Tour stops included the homes of: Craig and Bonnie Wix, 1217 Ann St. and the garden of 1209 Ann St. (The Castle); Rick and Ruami Dyke, 1024 Ann St.; Rich and Deborah Shaffer, 1025 Juliana St.; Shawn and Brenda Critzer, 939 Juliana St.; John and Louis Snively, 1111 Juliana St.; Norm and Lillian McCrary, 111 13th St.; and Bucky and Carol Duranti, 112 13th. St.

The district has used money from such tours for improvements such as installing period lighting, banners and archways at the entrances of the district. It is now pooling its money for improvements to the sidewalks, for which it already has a $5,000 state grant at its disposal.

Bonnie Wix said the sidewalks are lunch-hour destinations for many, especially workers at Camden-Clark Memorial Hospital and St. Joseph’s Hospital, both of which are located within a few minutes’ walk of the district.

“We have so many hospital workers who walk here, the district is a wonderful place to walk. It would be nice if we could get the funds to make improvements to the sidewalks,” she said.

McCrary said property owners would likely be matching the district’s funds in some way for the improvements. Many areas of sidewalk have been lifted up by tree roots over the years, which makes it impossible for wheelchairs to navigate some sections.

“The first phase I’d like to see personally is on Ann Street. If you were in a wheelchair or walker, you could not go walk on either side of the street,” she said.

McCrary said the district would like to do more bus tours when possible.

“We just had our first one and we have one coming in the end of July and another in the fall coming from Jacksonville, Fla. We would like to entertain more of that if we can,” she said.

See more of this coverage on the Julia-Ann Square Historic District at the Parkersburg News and Sentinel.

Category : In The News