Homes for the Holiday

Noblesville Preservation Alliance creates inaugural Twelve Houses of Christmas historic neighborhood driving tour

 

Deb Wofford strings lights on a tree at her home, 1358 Conner St. (Photo by Robert Herrington)

The Noblesville Preservation Alliance is looking to brighten this month’s holiday season – literally – during the organization’s inaugural Twelve Houses of Christmas program. Start the holidays jolly and bright as the whole family will “ooh!” and “ahh!” as they explore the city’s newest family tradition, a holiday historic neighborhood driving tour.

NPA Christmas Tour Chairwoman Georgia Pate said the driving tour will focus on the 12 historic districts in Noblesville. Within each district, NPA has recruited one “showcase” home that will be placed on the tour map.

“The ‘showcase’ homeowner will then approach their neighbors and rally them to join into the fun and ultimately the neighborhood will decorate the exterior of their homes for the tour,” Pate said.

The “showcase” home will also receive a sign in their yard depicting one of the 12 days of Christmas (partridge in a pear tree, two turtle doves, etc.). Pate said the signs have been painted by Nickel Plate artists and will be placed in the front yard.

“We’re really pushing this and a lot of neighbors are doing this,” said Pate. “We don’t need everybody to be the Griswolds. Just a string of lights will show their support and spirit.”

Showcase homeowners may be channeling their inner Clark Griswold though as extreme decorating is anticipated.

“They’re competing with each other,” said Pate. “Some of their displays are very elaborate. They want to win.”

“Showcase” homeowner Deb Wofford joked that to prepare her home she had to buy strands of lights but the cases.

“I got the opportunity to go crazy on it,” she said. “When my husband found out it was a contest he got very inspired.”

Wofford said she typically decorates the inside of her home and make the outside just as pretty provided a new challenge.

“It’s very much above and beyond (what we normally do), but I’ve always wanted to wrap trees. I always thought it would be fun to do that. This gave me a reason to do it,” she said. “I love to make things pretty. Not only am I doing it, people want me to do it.”

NPA offers an annual Historic Home Tour and Denzel Hufford Garden Award and contest in the summer. It also previously offered a winter Candlelight Home Tour prior to this year.

“Homeowners didn’t want people trudging through their houses with all the slug and stuff,” said Pate, who came up with the new tour idea with her daughter’s help. “We are trying to breathe new life into the tour this year with a new concept that we hope catches on and will remain an annual community event.”

While the event provides an additional family-friendly holiday event, Pate said it is also educational.

“We’re educating the people to the historic structures in the area and the districts and dates in which they were established,” she said. “We want to bring to their attention the history.

Twelve Houses of Christmas also provides a fundraising opportunity for NPA and a chance to see these houses frosted in holiday lights, warming the heart of Noblesville in the very best of holiday cheer.

“The NPA hopes that the sparkles and twinkles of the historic neighborhoods become a cornerstone of Noblesville Christmas festivities,” said Pate. “The neighborhood decoration competition is a fun and festive way to create teamwork and bring awareness to the historic districts.”

Souvenir maps will be available for just $1 from various Noblesville businesses. Pate said the map is hand drawn and laid out by districts. The cardstock map is also a collectable.

“The maps are actually posters, not a little paper map,” said Pate. “It’s a really nice piece all done by local artists.”

The Twelve Houses of Christmas will begin Friday night and run through Christmas Day. Residents are encouraged to bring their tour map and join NPA on opening night at tour headquarters in the historic Judge Stone House on the campus of Nickel Plate Arts, 107 S. Eighth St., for plenty of food, drink and holiday cheer.

“It’s an easy driving tour, probably an hour or so,” Pate said.

The driving tour continues nightly from 6 to 9 p.m. through Dec. 25. Each neighborhood will be voted on by the people who tour with each vote costing $1. The votes can be cast online at www.noblesvillepreservation.com.

“The winning neighborhood will win the privilege of holding the NPA Christmas trophy as well as receive recognition in Current in Noblesville! Then, next year, the competition is on again to see if the winning neighborhood can retain their victory and the trophy,” Pate said.

Pate said all proceeds will benefit the continued preservation of Noblesville’s historic resources and districts through projects such as the Homeowner Façade Grant program. The facade grants provide financial assistance to residential properties, 50 years or older, for exterior restoration work. To date, NPA has awarded $6,000 in grant funding. Grants are distributed as matching funds, with NPA contributing 50 percent of the total project cost (up to $1,000).

“Next year we hope to expand to more districts. I’m hoping in years to come people can’t wait to decorate,” Pate said.

A schowcase neighbor decorates their home at 1231 Maple St.

Know More

Noblesville Preservation Alliance was formed in the spring of 1987 by a group of dedicated people committed to the preservation and renewal of historic sites and neighborhoods in the community. NPA’s mission is to promote the preservation of historic neighborhoods and resources in order to enhance the quality of life in Noblesville. By opening their homes to the public, NPA hopes to inspire others to appreciate what restoration can to do add character, sense of place, uniqueness and interest to a community. For more information, call 773-4549 or visit www.noblesvillepreservation.com.

The Maps

A map of the Twelve Homes of Christmas can be purchased at these local stores for $1: A Corner Cottage, 895 Conner St.; Eleanor Rozella’s, 982 Logan St.; HG Studio, 930 Logan St.; Linden Tree, 856 Logan St.; Logan Village Mall, 977 Logan St.; Mr. G’s Liquor, 2209 E. Conner St.; Nickel Plate Arts, 107 S. Eighth St.; Noble Coffee & Tea, 933 Logan St.; Noblesville Visitors Center, 839 Conner St.; Old Picket Fence, 894 Logan St.; Rosie’s Place, 68 N. Ninth St.; Sheriff’s Residence, 810 Conner St.; and Whimzy, 940 Logan St.

Robert Herrington

Managing editor of Current in Noblesville. A 1999 graduate of Noblesville High School, Herrington has been covering Noblesville and Hamilton County as a journalist since 2004. The military brat lived all over the east coast before calling Noblesville home since 1994. He and his wife, Maggie, live in the community with their baby daughter (and youngest Boston Red Sox fan), Caroline. From school board to common council meetings, First Friday events and summer concerts in the city parks, Herrington loves to attend and cover all that Noblesville has to offer.

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