Greencastle tour a holiday gift

December 14, 2008|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

GREENCASTLE, Pa. -- As Myra and Mike Miller drove through Greencastle on Sunday, they noticed that up and down Baltimore Street, people carrying white pamphlets were walking in and out of Greencastle homes.

"We were just out for a drive when we saw the people and thought, 'there must be a home tour,'" Myra Miller said. "We bought tickets and here we are."

As the Millers drank in the sight of Nancy and Charlie Stein's 480 S. Washington St. home, Mike Miller said he thought this year, they might not get to take a home tour.

Almost every year, he and his wife tour homes near their Thurmont, Md., home, but this year, no tours were scheduled, he said.


Sunday was their lucky day, Miller said, as five of Greencastle's historic homes, dating back as far as the mid- 1800s, and one of its churches opened to the public for the annual Heritage Christmas Home Tour.

Marissa Burt, who chaired the home tour committee, estimated that nearly 500 people came through the homes.

Burt's home at 327 E. Baltimore St. was one of the five featured and for some local residents, the large farmhouse next to the library was a home they were eager to explore.

Like a few of the homes on the tour, when Marissa Burt and her husband, Zach, purchased the home, it needed work.

However, their home needed much more than a coat of paint, an electrical upgrade and modern appliances.

In the 1960s, the home was divided into three apartments and until the Burts purchased it in 2006, it was a decaying shell, filled with peeling paint, rotting wood and mold, Marissa Burt said.

Seeing inside the transformed home was a big draw for Sam Tamburro of Greencastle to take the 2008 tour.

"When I moved here, this home was all but condemned," he said as he stood, looking into the double-sided fireplace in the Burt home. "To see the dramatic work they have done is incredible."

Tamburro said the Heritage Christmas Home Tour has become a tradition to celebrate in Greencastle, not only because it spreads the holiday spirit with glowing trees and glittering garland, but because it fosters a sense of community as guests walk through the open doors.

Gerry and Pam Lute wanted to share the majesty of their three-story home at 501 E. Baltimore St. with the community when they bought it in 2007, so they turned it into a bed and breakfast, and opened it for the tour on Sunday.

"A home this beautiful is meant to be shared," Gerry Lute said.

Every home had its own beauty, Tamburro said, whether it was 50-foot stone pillars, hidden staircases, rich wooden floors, outdoor ponds or indoor brickwork.

The tour featured the homes of the Burts; the Lutes; the Steins; Joanne Thomas at 137 S. Washington St.; Lynn Caffarelli and Roger Yarnall at 156 S. Carlisle St.; and Antrim Brethren in Christ Church.

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