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Annual holiday tour to feature Gallipolis homes

Nov. 22, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

GALLIPOLIS, Ohio -- Instead of the 12 Days of Christmas, you can visit the "12 buildings of Christmas" during The French Art Colony's Annual Holiday Tour, Nov. 30 and Dec. 1.

The candlelight tour is from 6 to 10 p.m. on Friday evening, Nov. 30, and an afternoon tour is 12:30-4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 1.

The French Art Colony, located in a circa 1855 home at 530 1st Ave., Gallipolis, will serve as ticket headquarters and hospitality site for the tour.

According to a news release, the tour features both historic homes and buildings and recent additions to the area. Because there are 12 sites, visitors can use their tickets both days. The tour ends on Saturday afternoon, followed by the Christmas Parade.

Gallipolis, the second oldest permanent settlement in the Northwest Territory, was settled by the French in 1790, to escape their impending revolution. They settled in log cabins, in what is now the City Park. Homes in the National Register Districts date from 1802 onward. This is a driving tour, with two of the sites located outside the city and two in Point Pleasant.

The Sundquist home, in the City, built prior to 1834, continues to boast much of its historic charm, with modern additions. Present owners, the Sundquists, have retained the historic charm, while doing extensive renovations. The Sharma home, built in 2004, faces the historic City Park, site of the French landing in 1790. This 2 1/2 story, 4,800-square-foot home, features soft-toned bricks. They will present an Indian Temple, authentic dress and music.

Two churches are featured, within the city, Saint Peters Episcopal Church, circa 1859, is the second-oldest church in Gallipolis. While not decorated for the tour, the historic charm of the sanctuary is pleasing to visitors and it is a convenient rest stop. The contemporary First Church of the Nazarene, on Eastern Avenue, will welcome visitors, be garbed in holiday decorations and plans to present a live Nativity.

A treasure-trove of marvelous finds for antique lovers can be found at The Home Place Antique and Craft Mall, with its expanded second floor and cafe. Visitors will also enjoy exploring the 1819 Our House Museum, decked out in traditional Christmas decorations. The contemporary Bossard Memorial Library is already making special plans to welcome visitors, including performances by The French Colony Chorus of Sweet Adelines.

Other sites include the former Berridge House owned by Mark and Lois Clark, located about three miles south of Gallipolis. From their hilltop location, they have a marvelous view of the Ohio River. This colonial style home was built in 1939 by John O'Dell, a master craftsman. Current owners restored the original house, adding an 1,100-square-foot addition in 1999. A few miles farther brings visitors to the home of Jodie McCalla. She lovingly restored the family farm house, built in 1900, and occupied by five generations of the family.

In Point Pleasant, the Deal house (The Chef House) is a grand old brick Victorian, built in 1906. The impressive structure currently hosts a variety of special events and dinners, catered in-house. Guests will delight in the gorgeous one-of-a-kind Christmas decorations specially designed for the home. The Point Pleasant River Museum is included in your ticket price. This is a very special treat for visitors, especially if you have not been there lately. For boating enthusiasts, the simulated pilot house allows you to be a river pilot for the day. You will see a display of the former Silver Bridge, which collapsed on Dec. 15, 1967. You will also enjoy the huge new aquarium and the sea life within.

The French Art Colony will also host the Gallipolis Junior Womens Club Christmas Tree Raffle and Wreath Silent Auction throughout the Holiday Tour Event. Christmas exhibits, "Toys and Trains" and "The Trees of Imagination," Christmas Trees decorated by area youth groups, will be on display in the French Art Colony Galleries from Nov. 30 - Dec. 23.

For ticket information, call 740-446-3834 or e-mail info@frenchartcolony.org. This event has the support of the Ohio Arts Council.

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