The News Courier in Athens, Alabama


December 6, 2011

Six Limestone County homes deck the halls for Holiday Home Tour

— Six homes in Limestone County will be decked out for the Holiday Home Tour from 1-5 p.m. Dec. 11.

Proceeds from the tour, sponsored by Athens Ladies Civitan Club, will go to programs for developmentally and intellectually disabled residents of Limestone County.

The tour will include festive dishes prepared by Amanda Smith of Endless Catering, Chef Ron of Canebrake, Paula George of LuVici’s, Vivian Jefferson of Sweetest Things Tea Room, Amanda Havely of Bluesprings Catering and Penny Lawler of Catering Creations by CruLaRo.

Advance tickets for the event, which are $10, are available until Saturday, Dec. 10, at the following locations: RBC branches in Athens, Smith Infiniti of Huntsville, Jimmy Smith Buick GMC, Pablo’s’ on Market, KALB office, Pimentos, First National Bank or from any Ladies Civitan member. Tickets will be available for $15 at each home the day of the tour. Tour participants are asked to have tickets stamped at each location and leave the tickets at the last home visited to be included in drawings for door prizes from local stores and vendors.

The following homes will be on the tour:

Bullington House —ASU President’s Home, 209 E. Bryan St., Athens.

The Bullington House serves as the home of the Athens State University president. The house was built in 1910 on a lot carved from the McConnell family estate. The 1 1/2-story white house is typical of many early 20th century houses. It has mixed architectural trends and serves as one of the last examples of the Free Classical style of architecture. It exhibits elements of Queen Anne, Victorian and Classic Revival architectural integrity.

ASU bought The Bullington House in 2006. Renovations were made to preserve the history of the house. It was listed on the Alabama Register of Historic Buildings in 1985.

Creekside Plantation, 158 North St., Mooresville.

Creekside Plantation borders Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge, the Tennessee River and Limestone Creek. Also known as Creekside at Collier’s End, the antebellum plantation rests on 18 acres. The estate includes a 170-year-old plantation house, guest quarters, reception pavilion, appointed gardens, horse farm and working vineyards.

Walt and Terise Collier own the property. Collier is a descendant of Henry Watkins Collier, governor of Alabama from 1849 until 1853.

The plantation offers a unique venue for wedding receptions and special events.

The Holiday Home Tour will feature freshly cut, natural, period decorations inside and out, including the downstairs master wing, newly restored kitchen and enclosed porch.

• Mark and Mindy Jackson House, 24149 Piney Creek Drive, Athens.

The Jackson House is a Tidewater-style home typical of the coastal areas of South Carolina and most often found near waterways. The house is generally raised on stilts to protect from rising water allowing for the living room to be on the top floor. The style sometimes includes a second floor as seen at the Jackson House. Both floors of the home and the porch, which overlook the gardens, will be open for the tour. The main floor features hardwood plank flooring throughout. All rooms are furnished with American Federalist period furniture produced between 1780 and 1820. The large entry hall features a 20th century buffet. The downstairs, which serves as the children’s quarters, consists of two bedrooms; baths and living space, where playbills and other items collected from travels are on display.

Linda Jackson’s mother Hilda Waldrop decorated the house for the holidays.

Jill and Jerry Bartlett’s House, 301 S. Beaty St., Athens.

The Bartlett House will feature a collection of antique nutcrackers and angels. The angels are a collection started by Jill Bartlett’s mother and range from 5 inches to 2 1/2 feet tall. Heidi Bartlett, who has traveled to more than 60 countries, added to the collection. Most were acquired in Nuremberg, Germany, which has the largest Christmas market in Europe. The den of the Bartlett home will display an angel tree as well as a large Italian crèche used at the Donnell House last season.

The upstairs of the home will display Jerry Bartlett’s Christmas train and city.

Annalee brand mice and angels are scattered throughout the home along with a reindeer and Santa collection.

Richard and Mary Ann Shepard House, 23361 Hazeltine Drive, Athens.

Brian and Robyn Abernathy built the Shepard House, owned by Richard and Mary Ann Shepard, 4 1/2 years ago. Mary Ann said the arches at the outside entrance and throughout the inside of the home are her favorite elements of the home. The downstairs consists of a spacious open kitchen overlooking the Canebrake Golf Course that has a double oven, granite counter tops and hardwood floors.

Both living and dining rooms will be open for viewing. Decorations will be traditional, including a tree adorned with ornaments from special places the family has traveled, and ornaments given to the Shepards by family and friends.

Brenda Owens House, 17308 Noble Circle, Athens.

The Owens House, built by Keith Griffin, features 12 different trees, including a family tree covered in congressional and White House ornaments given to Brenda Owens by her brother, Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakely.

Owens said she always looks forward to decorating her house for Christmas. After her recent battle with breast cancer, Owens’ family and friends helped decorate the home.

Every room, from the sunroom to the bathrooms, features a tree as well as mantel or table decorations.

A ceiling-high white tree covered in silver ornaments in the dining room is a reminder of Owens’ father.

“He loved Christmas as much as I do,” Owens said. “He suggested I put up a white tree in the red room.”

The kitchen has a peppermint tree along with a gingerbread house. Red and lime green adorn the sunroom along with a Santa collection. A tree in the guest room is festooned with ornaments created by Owens’ aunt Jean Campbell. There is also a divided tree — half Auburn, half Alabama — due to a family with divided loyalties. A pink breast-cancer-awareness tree and a tree with white ornaments are in the master bedroom.

The outside of the home, located in the West Gate Subdivision, is decorated with wreaths and garlands.

For more information about the Holiday Home Tour, call Teresa Smith at 256-874-2578 or visit

— Pat Lewis contributed to this article.


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