Traveling back through Suffolk’s rich history

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

As they walked up and down the streets of the West End of Suffolk on Saturday evening, locals toured some homes that had been part of Suffolk for centuries. They took a stroll through rooms that had been used be generations of Suffolkians.

And, thanks to youngsters like Sarah Townsend and Ashley Koncz, tour-takers could even experience some human interaction from the times. The King’s Fork High students, decked out in true 1700s and 1800s attire, were part of a group that became living part of the exhibits by portraying Suffolkians from the old times (or, in this case, the Olde Towne times). Ashley, along with some of her classmates from the Governor’s School of the Arts, sang some Christmas carols to visitors, while Sarah and fellow King’s Fork drama club students acted out some family-type situations.

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&uot;I played an out-of-towner named Victoria who was visiting her best friend,&uot; Sarah said. &uot;We just walked along the streets and improvised.&uot;

&uot;I liked it, because I got a fake name,&uot; Ashley said. &uot;I was Susannah!&uot;

Ashley’s mother Angela, who helped organize the event, opened her own home on the tour, the Queen Anne Victorian Niemmo Home on Brewer Street as part of the tour, with the Darden Mansion and Smith Home the other locations. Afterward, festivities were held at the corner of Wellons and West Washington streets.

&uot;It went really well,&uot; Angela said of the tour, which was sponsored by the local Women’s Foundation and raised funding for the Habitat for Humanity Foundation and Genieve Shelter for Abused Women. &uot;Ticket sales were tremendous. All the homeowners were really overwhelmed. It was fun, and the people were very interested in the renovation process.&uot;

&uot;I’ve always been very interested in restoration of houses,&uot; said Debbie Springer, who came over from Chesapeake to take the tour. &uot;I like to see people put houses back the way they were in older times. I learned a little Victorian history today.&uot;

So did her friend Joyce Goodman, a Virginia Beach resident.

&uot;It was really nice,&uot; Goodman said. &uot;It was very interesting to see the people and homes from that period. I’d like to do this again.&uot;