The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

November 26, 2013

HOLIDAY PARTY: Historic Christopher home this year’s site for library benefit

By Kim West

— About 50 tickets remain for the second annual Holiday Party, benefiting the new Athens-Limestone Public Library under construction in the former Kroger’s building on South Jefferson Street.

Jim and Kristi Christopher will host this year’s fundraiser in their historic home at 311 N. Jefferson Street from 6-9 p.m. on Dec. 6. The 93-year-old residence is at the corner of Jefferson and Pryor streets in downtown Athens.

“We’ve followed the new library from the beginning and are encouraged by the goals met and the tireless efforts and contributions of its supporters,” said Kristi Christopher on Tuesday, in between running errands and decorating the family’s Christmas tree. “So we decided to lend our support in a small way by hosting a holiday party for what we think is a noble cause.”

Party amenities include a tour of the home, heavy hors d’oeuvres prepared by Curry’s in Decatur, wine and an open bar.

Attendees are encouraged to don holiday attire, with the home to be decorated with the floral designs of Travis Smith of Smith Farms and music provided by violinist Winslow Davis.

Tickets are $75 and available to the public at the current library at 405 E. South St., or online at

W.J. Hagan Jr. built the house in 1920, and it was later used temporarily as the local hospital before being purchased by Judy and Van Gilbert in 1942 and Jim Christopher in 1989.

The home’s original architect was Bern Price of Birmingham, who is noted for designing the Limestone County Courthouse, First United Methodist Church, First Christian Church and the former Daisy Warten Malone home on Hobbs Street owned by Jim Beasley.

Construction officials expect the new library to be complete by June 2014. The $2.7 million Phase I exterior began in June and is now winding down, with workers installing the bright white lettering to the limestone and stucco façade on Nov. 14.

Phase II interior bid packages will be let in December, according to Library Director Paula Laurita.