Christmas home tour is Saturday

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Tour is from 1-5 p.m.

By Jesse Osbourne



This Christmas the Washington County Historical Society is giving a gift that history buffs and Christmas lovers alike will appreciate.

The historical society’s first-ever Christmas Home Tour takes place on Saturday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
“There hasn’t been a public house tour in a long time,” Elaine Simms, program director for the historical society, said of the new event.
Simms said the historical society tried to pick historic homes that people would be interested in.
The homes featured are Campbell’s West Wind & Matthew Walton’s First House  at 2888 Bardstown Rd.; the Mays-Arnold House at 1205 Old Perryville Road Loop; the House of History at 301 N. Walnut; and the Lewis House at 314 East Main.
The historical society has been planning the event since October. Simms said she hopes the event happens again next year. If it does, she said she would like to keep the same, or a similar number of destinations.
The Mays-Arnold House
The Mays-Arnold House was built by John Hardin in 1843. It is currently owned by Susan and Ben Breeding.
“That one was a shoe-in because of it’s history with the Civil War,” Simms said.
In the morning room of the Mays-Arnold House, a new addition to the historical home, the Breedings set up a family Christmas tree full of ornaments with sentimental value.
The dining room is highlighted by a reindeer centerpiece on the table, complete with antlers and real pheasant feathers that were recently cured.
The stone masonry in the fireplace of the dining room is also highlighted by an arrangement of candles.
The center hall of the Mays-Arnold House features a nine-foot Christmas tree. The hall is decorated with grouse feathers and pear trees.
Susan Breeding said the Texas room upstairs is decorated in a tongue-in-cheek manner with items from their ranch in Texas.
Campbell’s West Wind & Matthew Walton’s First House
Campbell’s West Wind & Matthew Walton’s First House was built separately in 1900 and 1784. It is currently owned by Norma Jean and Virgil Campbell.
Norma Jean Campbell is decorating using natural materials including wool she has woven and peacock feathers from her own peacocks.
In the living room stands  an 11-foot Christmas tree adorned in angels made by Campbell, and patterns that were once used by Nancy Hanks.
Campbell uses her natural resourcefulness and crafty talents to decorate the expansive house. Her quilts can be found in nearly every room, as well as dolls and other projects.
“She is amazing,” Simms said.
 The House of History
The House of History was built around 1800 on part of Matthew Walton’s land used to establish Springfield, according the house’s historical marker.
“We picked the House of History because it’s the oldest house in the county and it’s empty,” Simms said.
It was bought by John Bainbridge in 1817, who operated a tavern there. Bainbridge sold it to D.H. Spears, a silversmith, in 1830.
The House of History was later owned by James Calhoun, according to the historical marker. Calhoun boasted he cast the only vote for Abraham Lincoln tallied in the county in 1860.
The house was named a Kentucky Landmark House in 1969.
The Lewis House
The Lewis House is a log home that sits on Main Steet. It currently houses Northwestern Mutual Financial Network.
“A lot of people are not aware of how old it is. It’s just a wonderful example of early homes in Washington County and how they had to be built,” Simms said.
Simms said she is pleased with the cooperation she has received from the homeowners, all of which she noted are very busy people.
Tickets are $10 each and can be purchased at each house. Only one ticket per person is needed for admission to all four houses.
The home tour is a fundraiser for the historical society.
Also, two different Washington County history books will be available for purchase by visitors at the homes.
Call (859) 336-9285 or (859) 336-7282 for more information.