From Victorian to Federal and from the late 1800s to the early 1990s, Marietta is full of unique and interesting homes and historic places. Visitors on this year's Holiday Tour of Homes, from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, will find all of the above and more, including the home of a Congressman new to Marietta.
"We have no real criteria (for choosing homes)," said Judy Piersall, an organizer of the popular event hosted by The Betsey Mills Club. "We have a committee looking a year in advance and sometimes we have homeowners volunteer. But we are very lucky that there are a lot of homes in our little town that are just beautiful."
The Holiday Tour of Homes has been a tradition for years, according to Piersall, going back to when it was organized by the American Association of University Women (AAUW). When the group disbanded a few years back, The Betsey took over the tour.
"We've always had a good turnout," Piersall said. "People are just curious about how others decorate their homes, especially at Christmas."
The oldest home on the tour is an 1835 Federal-style brick home belonging to Ethan and Susan Vessels. The home, located at 425 Sixth St., features "extensive remodeling," according to Ethan Vessels, in an effort to retain the charm of the period.
"We have removed all of the wall and floor coverings and anything that was done in the 60s and 70s," he said, adding that the rear portion of the two-story home was added at a later date but the front of the home is original, as far as they know.
Just a few blocks from the Vessels' is a newer home that is the current residence of U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, and his wife, LeeAnn. The brick home at 519 Fifth St. was built in 1992 and boasts new hardwood and Italian tile flooring.
The Johnsons moved to Marietta from Poland, Ohio last spring in an effort to be in a more centralized location for his district.
"We just love it. We feel, living in town, that we are really part of the community," said LeeAnn Johnson, adding that the family looked at many houses before settling on the Colonial two-story.
"This house just captured our hearts," she said. "The backyard is so wonderfully landscaped, even though it is postage stamp size."
The home is tastefully decorated for the holidays but not cluttered, according to Johnson. Fitz and Floyd Christmas china will be displayed as well as a traditionally decorated Christmas tree.
"My taste is kind of traditional. I don't like to over-decorate but I do give attention to every room," she said.
The Johnsons will welcome guests Sunday with coffee to be served in the kitchen.
"We are happy to open our homes to the community for the holidays," Johnson said.
If you go
What: Holiday Tour of Homes, sponsored by The Betsey Mills Club.
When: 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Cost: $10 in advance, $12 at any door.
For information: 373-4981
Congressman Bill and LeeAnn Johnson, 519 Fifth St.
Ethan and Susan Vessels, 425 Sixth St.
John and Robin Boyd, 510 Warren St.
Warren and Georgene Johnson, 410 Montgomery St.
The Woman's Home, 812 Third St.
First Presbyterian Church, 501 Fourth St.
The Castle, 418 Fourth St.