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Persinger house is one of eight on North High Holiday House Tour

December 02, 2004|by JANET HEIM

janeth@herald-mail.com

After 10 years of careful restoration, Ben and Kathy Persinger have agreed to open their home - all decked out for the holidays - to the public for the annual North Hagerstown High School Holiday House Tour.

"It's my favorite time," Kathy Persinger said of the Christmas season.

The decorating usually begins after Thanksgiving when a fresh tree is positioned in the bay window of the Persingers' living room. Boxes and boxes of ornaments and decorations are brought down from the attic and an abundance of fresh greenery is added.

"Every year I decorate differently," Persinger said. "That's what makes it fun."

The Persingers' more than 100-year-old house is one of eight houses on the walking tour that will take place on Sunday, Dec. 12, from 1 to 4 p.m.

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All the houses are in close proximity to First Christian Church, where ticket holders can park. Those unable to walk can drive to the individual homes.

Kathy Persinger got involved because she has two friends who have students in North High's junior class. She said she thinks it will be a nice tour because all of the houses are different and so are the decorating styles of the homeowners, from very traditional to more modern.

Describing her style as "eclectic with a smidge of Victorian," Persinger said she and her husband, who was in the military, moved often and lived overseas before returning to Hagerstown.

They moved here with their then 3-year-old son, Alex - now an eighth-grader at Northern Middle School - and wanted a house that would be good for family gatherings. Their home has been the setting for two family weddings, Persinger said.

Prior to moving here, the Persingers lived in military housing, where all the walls were white and couldn't be changed. The first thing Kathy Persinger did was add color and wallpaper to the walls of their new home.

From the 1950s to the 1980s, the home was owned by Dr. Binford, who used the main floor as his office and lived upstairs with his family. The Persingers have tried to restore the home to the original floor plan as much as possible, while considering the needs of their family.

Tickets cost $15 and can be purchased at North High or Lehmans Mill, from members of the North High junior class, Coleen Watson, Carol Kreykenbohm-Barnhart, Connie Lenhart or Teresa Schoeck. Tickets also will be available at each home on the day of the tour. Proceeds go to the North High junior class to help cover prom expenses.

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