Frank and Jane Gabor Folklife Center

This year will mark the first time that the Frank & Jane Gabor Folklife Center, which is home to the Folklore-Folklife Program at Fairmont State University, will be on the historic homes tour.

FAIRMONT — The Marion County Historical Museum is hoping to bring in more visitors this year for its 25th annual Holiday Historic Homes Tour tomorrow and Saturday, Dec. 7.

In hopes of boosting attendance, the museum has cut the price of the tour by about half, to $12 a ticket for both Saturdays. It’s scheduled from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on both dates.

“I’m hoping it will bring in more people, and more people will be able to enjoy the house tours this year,” said Joni Morris, executive director of the museum.

“This year there will be seven structures spanning 100 plus years of Marion County history,” according to a news release. “A first on the tour this year will be the Frank & Jane Gabor Folklife Center which is home to the Folklore-Folklife Program at Fairmont State University. It is one of only 25 such programs across the nation.”

“It is housed in what used to be the Kennedy Barn built circa 1906. The stone barn is on the National Register of Historic Places and was restored, renovated and adapted for its current use.”

Tomorrow, the following structures will be available for tours: The Meredith Clayton House at 1312 Pennsylvania Ave., Fairmont; the Folklife Center; the one-room schoolhouse at Fairmont State University, the sheriff’s house (Marion County Historical Museum) and the old jail at 211 Adams St. in Fairmont; and what used to be the Hutchinson Coal Co. Warehouse, now known as the Arts and Antiques Building, 205 Adams St. in Fairmont.

All these structures will be available for tours the next Saturday, Dec. 7, except for the Meredith Clayton House.

According to Morris, two homes will be added to the tours on Dec. 7: the George Pinkney Morgan House at 418 Sugar Lane in Rivesville, with tours from Noon until 6 p.m., and the Yaremchuk House, which was originally the Z.W. Morgan House, at 506 Pittsburgh Ave. in Fairmont at regular tour times from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“I’m hoping they will enjoy it, and learn a little bit of history about Marion County and some of the buildings that we have and some of the architecture and artistry of the county,” Morris said.

She thanked Connie Ahrens, the owner of the Meredith Clayton House, for being part of the tour for the whole 25 years.

The Meredith Clayton House is, in fact, the featured home on the tour this year.

“This beautiful 150-plus year old home has been lovingly restored by Connie and her dear departed husband, Steven. A Federal Italianate 2 story wood home, it was built before 1860 by William Meredith, Civil War captain and the first Mayor of Bellview (then known as Barnsville),” states the news release.

“After Captain Meredith’s death, the house remained in the family and went to his son, Judge Winfield Scott Meredith. Judge Meredith was a Judge for the Circuit Court of Marion County and a State Senator,” the release continued.

Dora Kay Grubb, former president of the Historical Society, said the tour of homes helps raise a lot of money for the society and is a large undertaking.

The Meredith-Clayton home is the only house on the Historic Homes Tours that has been on the tour all 25 years.

“Many people have enjoyed tours through this lovely home and some stay longer than usual to chat with the friendly owner. There are always two or more knowledgeable docents available if you have any questions,” according to the news release.

Each year, the home is decorated with 15 trees on its grounds and inside, which is decorated in different styles ranging from Victorian to Primitive and portrays the personality of the owner.

“Period music and Old Fashioned cookies enhance the already warm inviting atmosphere of this home. It is definitely worth your time and is a real pleasure to visit,” states the release.

Tickets can be purchased at the museum, Adams Office Supply on Adams Street and Rider Pharmacy on Merchant Street.

Eric Hrin can be reached at 304-367-2549, or ehrin@timeswv.com.

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