Two houses which are contributing elements in the National Register Historic District in Alderson will also be included during the Christmas Homes Tour in Alderson from 1-5 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 14. Four lovely church sanctuaries with trees and poinsettias as well as the Historic 1896 C&O Train Depot, a model train show in the Fellowship Hall of the Alderson Presbyterian Church, the Alderson Visitor Center, music, shopping, and food will be available. $10 tickets are available in advance at the Visitor Center or on the day of the tour at the Depot.
The Queen Anne style of Victorian architecture is epitomized by the home of Dr. Charles and Melissa Lilly. Built in 1902 by Clark Ellis for Frank Mann who lived there until 1913, it is a large and gracious home. Since Mr. Mann opened a planning mill in Alderson in 1892 to manufacture wood trim for houses, one can imagine that he used the building of this house as an opportunity to showcase his products. It certainly will seem that way when visitors look at the wonderful woodwork including the ceilings. The house also has a turret which serves as a perfect backdrop for a Christmas tree on the first floor and as a sleeping nook for the daughter of the house on the second floor. Youngsters will appreciate her bright pink and black décor as well as the sparkle of her many crowns from pageants.
The colonial revival style better suited T. L and Nadine Woodson who build their house circa 1922. Mr. Woodson had come to Alderson in 1910 to work as the new manager and treasurer of the Merchant’s Grocery Company, renamed the Woodson Mohler Grocery Company, and, in 1923, Woodson, Prince & Co. Their two story house of red brick with white wood trim was bought in 1937 by John Alderson, III, and remains in the Alderson family. The Aldersons are descendants of Elder John Alderson for whom the town is named and who was the founder of the Old Greenbrier Baptist Church, which will also be open for touring. Because of the long history of the Aldersons in the Greenbrier Valley, John and Betty Alderson’s collection of antiques includes pieces owned by Elder John Alderson, Miss Emma Alderson, the Creigh Family, and from the Blue Sulphur Spring resort. Portraits and photographs of Alderson family members cluster on the walls.
Visitors to the Alderson house will be treated to a large entry hall with its own tree and garland on the stairs; a formal dining room trimmed in blue and a formal living room with accents of mauve. The old style kitchen includes cabinetry which was moved there in a 1940’s remodeling from the butler’s pantry and even a “Retrowave” – a modern microwave oven housed in a retro cover.
Two more houses will be available for visitors to tour as well as the sanctuaries of four churches. River of Life, Johnson Memorial United Methodist, Old Greenbrier Baptist and Alderson Presbyterian will be available for quiet moments of contemplation and beauty. At the Johnson Memorial United Methodist Church, a famous local choir will be singing on the half hour from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. While there, from noon to 2 p.m., visitors can purchase a soup, sandwich, drink and dessert lunch for $6 and find lots of bargains as well as unique craft items at their Christmas Bazaar.
The Annual Model Train Show will be held from 1-5 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall of the Alderson Presbyterian Church. The Historic 1896 C&O Depot will be decorated and open for touring as well as the purchase of Home Tour tickets on the day of the tour. Hand stamps for entry to the homes and a brochure with addresses and directions will be available there from 12:30 to 5 p.m.
Americorps Member Lynda Howe, who is assisting Alderson Main Street (AMS) for a year, and AMS members Tom Dameron, Doris Kasley, and Judy Lewallen are just a few of the hardworking people who are responsible for the holiday activities in Alderson this year. Mayor Travis Copenhaver said, “Alderson is so lucky to have a large number of people, organizations, and churches who have stepped up to create all these great activities. We are proud of what our town can offer and want to share it with everyone.”