Thousands attend tour of homes
By Kathryn Purcell
An annual tradition, this year's Christmas Tour of Homes, sponsored by Heritage Hall, home of the Morgan County Historical Society, drew a crowd of 2,500 people to Madison.
The tour, which included both day and night schedules, ran Friday, December 5 and Saturday, December 6. In total, 14 homes were featured - Heritage Hall; the Richter Cottage; the Rogers House and the Rose Cottage; Thurleston, home of Clarence and Kathy Whiteside; Bookhaven, home of Steve and Rita Schaefer; the Edmund Walker Townhouse, home of Dr. and Mrs. Donald R. Lane; Echo House, home of Jim McManus; the Starke-Hunt-Freisen House, home of Christy and Von Freisen; Magnolia House, home of Mr. and Mrs. Ed Hannah; the McElfresh-Harris-Crouch Cottage, home of Jerry and Donna Crouch; the LeGrande-Baugh House, home of Jan and Bill Manos; the Stokes-McHenry House, home of Col. and Mrs. Dan Hicky; the Godfrey-Hunt House, home of Lyn and Whitey Hunt; and the Rachel Anna Cottage, a guest home of Jack and Nancy Miles.
"I think it was great; everyone seemed to enjoy the tour," Annelle Argo, president of the Morgan County Historical Society, said. "Everyone seemed to enjoy the houses and had a great time."
Aside from the Christmas Tour of Homes being a success in itself, local businesses also profited from the influx of tourists.
"We stayed open until 8pm and it was well worth it; we had people come in until 8pm," Tracy Alsbrooks, of Madison Markets, said.
"We had a great day," Mulberry Toys co-owner Michelle Robinette said. "It wasn't as great as the day after Thanksgiving, but it was probably the second best day of the holiday season."
"It was noticeable higher than the previous Tour of Homes," Dog Ear Books owner Jon Tonge said, of the traffic in his store. "It probably had a lot to do with gas prices...I had a ton of traffic."
In fact, Saturday marked Dog Ear Books' best day this year, and he credits the Tour of Homes, as well as its promotion by Heritage Hall and the City of Madison, as aiding in that.