Tour lights up West End

Published 6:13 pm Saturday, November 28, 2015

102 South Broad Street

102 South Broad Street

It’s the 39th year of the Suffolk-Nansemond Historical Society’s Candlelight Tour, and the West End and Lakeside neighborhoods will be featured next weekend.

“I think this year’s tour has such variety that there’s something for everybody,” said Lynn Cross, this year’s tour chair. “For history lovers, we’ve got five historic homes, two historic churches and a historic art gallery building.”

Vintage cars will satisfy the engine lovers. Those with a sweet tooth can enjoy the Sugar Plum Kitchen. Home decorators can get lots of ideas.

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“If you want to decorate a tree, come find inspiration on this tour,” Cross said. “There will be lots of different decorations. The ideas will abound.”

The homes on the tour range in age from the 1890s to the 1960s and vary in architectural style from Victorian to Georgian.

At about 125, the Russo house at 102 S. Broad St. is the oldest home on the tour, but it was actually built on the lot beside where it now sits. At one time it was converted into a five-unit apartment building but was later restored back to a single-family home. Visitors can see much of the original woodwork and flooring, as well as the original privy out back. The wraparound porch and mahogany baby grand piano are must-see features. A classic, black 1986 Cadillac Brougham will be shown off nearby.

At 217 S. Broad St., tour guests will find a restored Victorian home owned by the Stricklands. The gabled house, built in 1910, has three stories, wood siding, tiger oak hardwood floors on the first floor and heart pine floors on the second floor. With six bedrooms, it was once the family home of Harry Lee Cross Jr. and his four siblings. Each room will have a different decorating theme and color scheme, and tree themes will include peacocks, snow babies, angels and Santas. On the street, visitors can admire a 1965 Plymouth Fury convertible.

At 915 Maryland Ave., the Grogan home will be showcased. The home was built in 1925 by Dr. Martin, the former superintendent of schools. Visitors can enjoy collectibles displayed throughout the home — even on the Christmas trees — including dolls, glass ornaments and Royal Copenhagen plates. Outdoors, Mr. Grogan’s 1958 Buick Special will be showcased.

At 109 Bosley Ave. is the stately brick home originally built by Mrs. A.S. Eley in in 1922 and now the home of Mr. and Mrs. Day. The Days will showcase their collection of 18th- and 19th-century antiques, including English Sheffield silver candlesticks and other furniture, handmade quilts and more. A 1967 Ford Mustang convertible will charm visitors outside.

The youngest home on the tour will be the Queen home at 1103 Lake Point Lane. It was designed by Suffolk architect Frank Spady for Jack and Faye Webb in the early 1960s and is built on Lake Kilby, which marked the western line of Union defenses around Suffolk during the Civil War. Visitors will enjoy the Queens’ renovations, including the enlarged kitchen and antiques displayed throughout the home. The cobblestones in the back garden once paved the streets of Ghent in Norfolk. A 1976 Blue BMW 2002 will be parked outside.

Two West End churches also will be open during the tour. Oxford United Methodist Church, established in 1907, will have cookies, punch, instrumental Christmas hymns and a historian on site on Sunday.

At West End Baptist church, established in 1929, there will be a reserved seating area for ticketholders to hear the Virginia Voices International at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday.

The Suffolk Art Gallery also will be open. Originally built in 1959 as Morgan Memorial Library using a bequest from Lizzie Morgan to honor her parents, the gallery will feature the Suffolk Art League’s annual juried exhibition.

On Saturday, local author and historian Kermit Hobbs will be signing copies of his latest book, “The Murder of Tiberius Gracchus Jones.” The Suffolk Art Gallery also will house the Sugar Plum Kitchen, where visitors can purchase cookies, pies, cakes, jellies, pickles and other goodies.

The tour takes place Dec. 5-6 from 1 to 5 p.m. each day. Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 on the day of the tour. Tickets may be purchased at the Seaboard Station Railroad Museum, the Suffolk Visitor Center, A. Dodson’s and Bennett’s Creek Pharmacy. On tour days, tickets are available only at the Suffolk Art Gallery. Call 539-2781.