Tour offers inside look at historic London homes


 Messenger photo by Kristy Zurbrick
The home of Steve and Amy Saltsman will be on the historic tour of homes in London presented Aug. 18 by A Friend’s House.

Many homes on London’s North Main Street have been part of the streetscape for generations. On Aug. 18, between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., the public can get an inside look at several of them.

The historic home tour is a fundraiser for A Friend’s House, Madison County’s domestic violence program. Tickets are $10 per person and will be available the day of the event on the Madison County Courthouse lawn or at any of the stops on the tour. Signs will be placed in the front yards of participating homes.

Carriage rides come with the ticket price, as do refreshments and a demonstration by the Madison County Historical Society at the courthouse.

There have been a lot of renovations to all of them,” said Kirsten Gross, who is co-chairing the event with Diane Crisp.

The following is a partial listing of the stops on the tour. Other homes will be added to the list. Additionally, the courthouse will be open free of charge.

65 N. Main St.—The Masonic Temple. The building was originally built in 1880, and at one time was a doctor’s residence. The Masons bought the structure in the 1930s and have since added onto it.

117 N. Main St.—Alexandra’s Bed & Breakfast. The Cheseldine Family built the house around 1860. In 1997, Sue and Ron Brown renovated the property and have since operated it as a bed and breakfast. The main home has 16 rooms, including five bedrooms. The property also includes two carriage houses that accommodate guests, as well.

Sue Brown said two of her favorite features of the home are the parquet basketweave wood floor in the parlor and the interior walls that are two-bricks thick through three stories. Brown said she has read old newspaper clippings that refer to the parlor floor as one of the most beautiful floors in Madison County.

122 N. Main St.—Home of Diane Hayes. This home is a former bed and breakfast.

123 N. Main St.—Home of Shannon and Adam Coblentz. After nearly 130 years, many of this home’s original features are still intact, including four fireplaces, windows including two stained glass ones, doors including a set of French doors, much of the woodwork, and the solid wood columns on the exterior. The Coblentzes recently tore off the old asbestos siding to unveil the home’s original wood siding.

Over the last three-and-a-half years, the Coblentzes have completed a wide array of renovations. When asked for a sampling of what they’ve completed, Adam Coblentz rattled off a long list, part of which included lowering a floor, putting in new hardwood ceilings in a couple of the rooms, restructuring the second floor to create a master suite, installing 800 additional square feet of hardwood flooring, putting up crown moulding, updating the kitchen, and rebuilding the porches.

165 N. Main St.—Home of Steve and Amy Saltsman. This home has had only four owners since it was built in 1891. The Atchison Family, owners of a drugstore in London, built it. Later, the home belonged to the Porter Family of Porter Funeral Home in Mount Sterling. The Saltsmans bought the house four years ago from the estate of Dr. Orville Russell, a dentist who also was active in amateur radio service in Madison County.

“We have the original house plans and they’re in awesome shape. We hope to have them framed up and on display for the tour,” said Steve Saltsman. He and his wife have been remodeling the home, with its history in mind, one room at a time.

183 N. Main St.—Home of Phil and Sharon Parr. The Parrs have been told that the 20th president of the United States, James A. Garfield, once dined at their home. He was visiting the home’s owner/builder, who he named ambassador to South America, Parr said.

Story has it that the son of the home’s owner/builder remembers looking down from the balcony and seeing the president.

Parr said the balcony no longer exists; previous owners closed off the open stairway in order to put in a nursery. The home, which was built in 1873, still has the original narrow oak flooring, wood trim, two sets of pocket doors and three fireplaces.

For more information about the Historic Tour of Homes, call A Friend’s House at 740-852-7761.

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