By Kaylyn Christopher
Times West Virginian
Structures that tell the story of Fairmont’s rich history will be on display from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 30 during the annual Holiday Historic Homes Tour.
This is the 20th year for the tour, which was named the 2012 Event of the Year by the Convention and Visitors Bureau of Marion County.
Dora Grubb, of the Marion County Historical Society, said this year’s self-guided tour includes nine sites that offer unique, historical features: The Clyde Hutchinson Mansion, The Country Corner, The Showalter Home, The Marion County Sheriff’s Home (now the Marion County Museum), The A.G. Martin Home, The Meredith Home, The Joliffe Home, The Pinkney-Morgan Home and The Gatherings.
Amanda Hatfield, event coordinator at The Gatherings, said those who attend the tour will not only get a look inside the historical building, but will also have the opportunity to witness a portrayal of Francis and Julia Pierpont.
According to Hatfield, Art and Pam Dodd will be portraying the Pierponts, while Millie and Gary Goetze will portray Sen. John Carlisle and his wife Mary Ellen. They will also be singing songs from the 1800s.
“People will be able to learn historical information not just about our building but also the time period,” Hatfield said.
The Gatherings was formerly known as the M.E. Methodist Protestant Church, which the Pierponts attended.
Grubb said each of the other sites on the tour has an interesting background as well.
The hostess of the Clyde Hutchinson Mansion will be Diane Hutchinson Parker, the granddaughter of Clyde. During the tour, she will hold a signing of her new book “Daddy’s Ledger.”
In addition, The Country Corner was built around 1900 and was the site of the Fairmont Investments Co.; The Showalter Home was built in the early 1900s and was the home of Judge Emmett Showalter; The Joliffe Home is the last residential home in the downtown area and has remained in the family since the day it was built; The Marion County Sheriff’s Home, which is now the Marion County Museum, allowed the sheriff to go from his home to his office, the jail or the courthouse without having to go outside; The A.G. Martin House has been featured in national magazines; The Meredith Home was built before the Civil War; and The Pitney-Morgan home is believed to be the last original Morgan home standing in the Monongahela Valley.
Tickets for the tour are $16 if purchased in advance or $18 if purchased the day of the event. High school and college students can get tickets for $12 with a student I.D. A ticket must be purchased regardless of how many homes on the list you plan to tour.
Because a bus ride is required to visit the Pinkney-Morgan Home, Grubb said there is an additional cost of $7 to go to that site. The bus will be leaving from the museum at 1 p.m. for the Pinkney-Morgan Home, so that ticket must be purchased in advance. If fewer than 10 people express interest in visiting that site, the bus trip will be cancelled and money will be refunded.
Tickets can be purchased at the Marion County Museum from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday or by mail at MCHS, P.O. Box 1636, Fairmont, 26555. For more information, call 304-367-5398 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hatfield said she is looking forward to the tour and that it should be an exciting event that showcases Fairmont’s history.
“There are a lot of beautiful buildings in Fairmont that people don’t realize,” she said. “And even the outsides don’t quite portray the beauty and inside of the buildings. I encourage everyone to come see what a rich history Fairmont has.”
Email Kaylyn Christopher at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter @KChristopherTWV.