By CHERIL VERNON
Palestine residents will have the opportunity to tour five historic homes decorated for the holidays during the “Hearth & Tinsel” Tour of Homes on Saturday, Dec. 7 as part of Palestine's Frost Fest activities.
Homes featured on the tour, which will be held from 3 to 6 p.m., are located in Palestine's historic Southside District.
New this year will be a red trolley which will shuttle ticket holders to and from downtown to the homes. Tickets are $20 per person, and include the trolley shuttle.
“This is our first year to have a trolley. Marshall has the lights, Waxahachie has the (decorated) courthouse and now Palestine will have a red trolley,” tour of homes coordinator Marti Moronko told the Herald-Press. “The trolley will not be just for the tour of homes — it will be available all day from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. during Frost Fest to drop people off at various locations around town.”
The Palestine Area Chamber of Commerce, which is sponsoring the Frost Fest, as well as the Tour of Homes, will have members dressed in ballgowns and period costumes at each home on the tour.
“There are so many beautiful homes on the tour and I believe the trolley ride will make it even more authentic,” Moronko said.
The homes featured this year include the R. Herrington home which has long been a Palestine landmark, Located at 616 S. Sycamore St., this home was originally a single-story frame building. The house was built about 1897 by Dr. Thomas Milton Colley for his son Paul Sims Colley. The 1920s brought multiple changes to Sycamore Street, including the arrival of potable water from a central water system, a public sewage system, paved sidewalks and street. The changes encouraged Paul Colley in 1929 to make major alterations to his home. The house was modernized with the addition of a kitchen, bath and a music room. The most striking change was to the exterior where a high-peaked roof was added over its original one-story frame and brick veneer was added to convert it to a Tudor-revival style dwelling.
Another featured home is located at 412 S. Royall St. Georgia-native Nathaniel Royster Royall and his wife Annie built this house in 1883-84. Local historians suggest that the house incorporated elements of Galveston homes that Mr. Royall had seen. Mr. Royall moved to Palestine in 1873 and purchased a one-third interest in a general mercantile and banking business. The house is still in the Royall family.
Texas historical figure John H. Reagan built the house at 511 S. Royall St. for his daughter and son-in-law in the 1880s. This modest, center-passage dwelling presents another good illustration of how many late 19th century homeowners applied stylistic ornamentation to a vernacular house form. This one-story frame residence has a front-facing gable extension and porch with turned-wood columns and jigsaw brackets, all of which are suggestive of the Queen Anne Style.
Other residences included on the tour include homes located at 212 W. Reagan St. and 220 W. Reagan St.
Tickets may be purchased at the Palestine Area Chamber of Commerce located at 401 W. Main St. in Palestine, or call 903-729-6066.
“We also will be selling tickets for the tour of homes on Friday and Saturday at booths at different locations in downtown Palestine. The ticket price does include the cost of riding the trolley,” Moronko said. “This will make it easy for out-of-town guests who are interested in going on the home tour.”