September 26, 2009 9:26:00 PM
Adele Elliott - [email protected]
In many ways, houses are like women. Their names are usually feminine, inspired by flowers, or influenced by languages more romantic than ours. Even those that bear a family surname sound more genteel when the word "manor" or "mansion" is added.
Amzi Love was not a woman, but a major in the military. Still, the name hardly evokes a sense of battles or blood. Bryn Bella, a Welsh term, rolls off the lips like a poem. It is so much lovelier than "beautiful hill," the English translation.
And, why shouldn''t they be feminine? In Columbus, houses drape themselves in skirts of pink azaleas, and chapeaus of crepe myrtle, and magnolias with glistening green leaves. The aroma of gardenias curl around the columns of wide porches. Lovely and ageless, the houses peek, coyly, from mantillas of lacy ironwork. It is as if these lovely ladies are flirting with all who stop to admire them.
And, just as any human femme fatale, they are confidant of their beauty. They are belles of very refined lineage. A visitor, like a "gentleman caller," must be invited to enter.
Well, this is your invitation. As you will read in today''s newspaper, some grand dames of Columbus architecture will be "receiving" as the Columbus Cultural Heritage Foundation hosts the first Fall Tour of Historic Homes Oct. 1-4. (Of course, you knew about the spring Pilgrimage tours, 69 years and counting.)
This new series of tours includes antebellum and Victorian homes, as well as two downtown loft apartments.
Each of the "ladies" has her own personality. Waverley Mansion wears a cupola crown and hides a child ghost. Rosewood Manor has a charming, tiny chapel tucked into her rear gardens. The T. O. Burris Home is an extravagant "painted lady" in Mardi Gras colors, with touches of real gold-leaf trim. So, try to visit as many as you can. All will be waiting, dressed in their finest when you call.
This is, of course, an incomplete listing of the homes on display. For a brochure, you can drop by the Tennessee Williams Welcome Center, 300 Main St. or visit www.columbus-ms.org to see photos of the homes on tour.
Proceeds from the fall tour ticket sales, plus a portion of CD sales by Bostonian Jack Brent, who will perform Gershwin songs Oct. 4 at 4 p.m. at St. Paul''s Episcopal Church, will go to help with the preservation of the Tennessee Williams Home. Built in 1875, this Victorian beauty was the first residence of our country''s greatest playwright and houses our Welcome Center, as well. Let''s face it, even a girl that lovely needs a bit of cosmetic surgery at more than 130 years old.
These tours have something for everyone: Exquisite homes from two past epochs, contemporary downtown lofts, Gershwin melodies, candlelight and desserts. All combine to make a weekend that truly "''s wonderful"!
Adele Elliott, a New Orleans native, moved to Columbus after Hurricane Katrina.