Take a peek: Three of Columbus’ Victorian era homes open for tour during Tribute

August 22, 2009 10:48:00 PM

Jan Swoope - [email protected]


While it''s often Columbus'' antebellum homes at center stage, don''t overlook many of the lovely and classic examples of Victorian architecture to be found here. 


During the annual Tennessee Williams Tribute and Tour of Victorian Homes, three Columbus residences will graciously welcome visitors Sunday, Sept. 13, from 2-5 p.m.  


Directed by the Columbus Cultural Heritage Foundation, the tour offers a glimpse into the circa 1907 home of Mr. and Mrs. Allen Kerby at 402 Eighth St. N.; Azalea Place, the circa 1869 home of Mr. and Mrs. David Owen at 420 Third St. S.; and the circa 1900 home of Mr. and Mrs. Tom Hatcher at 604 Third St. S. 


The Tennessee Williams Welcome Center, at 300 Main St., will also be open for touring. The home completed in or near 1875 served as the rectory for St. Paul''s Episcopal Church on College Street and was the first home of the famous playwright born in Columbus in 1911.  


The house was moved from its original College Street location to Main Street in the mid 1990s and underwent extensive restoration. It has now been designated a National Literary Landmark. The Tennessee Williams Tribute and Tour Committee''s primary mission is the preservation of the historic structure and observing the memory of the late writer. 




Royal influence 


It''s generally agreed the Victorian era stretches through the reign of Great Britain''s Queen Victoria, 1837 to 1901. It was an exciting period when artistic styles, literary schools and social movements flourished. Architecture was influenced by widely-published pattern books and the expansion of industrialization. Building materials and components became accessible to more and more home owners.  


The most popular Victorian styles, including Victorian Italianate, Queen Anne and Gothic Revival, spread quickly, and imaginative builders often mixed characteristics, creating unique -- and sometimes quirky -- results 


Much of the design featured high levels of craftsmanship and construction. Beautiful spindlework, elaborate gable ornamentation and striking dormers were used. Equally distinctive were the exterior pastel colors many of the homes still feature. 


"This house has a charm and character that just sort of speaks to you and says its own thing to you," commented Laurie Hatcher about her home on the tour. "We weren''t looking for a house at the time, but when I saw it, I told my husband I knew we were going to own that house one day -- and that it needed to be yellow."  


Tickets for the afternoon tour are $15, available now at the Rosenzweig Arts Center at 501 Main St. Tickets may also be purchased Sept. 13 at the Welcome Center. Free guided bus tours of the historic district will also leave the center Sept. 13 at 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. 




The Hamilton Collection 


An added feature at the Welcome Center during the Tribute Sept. 7-13 will be a collection of photographs of life in the former rectory, thanks to Mary Stewart Hamilton Ezell, of Columbus. Ezell, like Tennessee Williams, lived in the rectory as a child, when her father served as priest of St. Paul''s. 


The home''s Victorian grace will also be enhanced, too, by floral designs created by Dr. Jim DelPrince, of Mississippi State University''s faculty, and several of his advanced floral design students. 


Questions about the upcoming Tribute and Tour? Visit www.muw.edu/tennesseewilliams/, e-mail Brenda Caradine at [email protected], or call the Welcome Center at 662-328-0222 or 800-327-2686.

Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.