Terie Kelley sips coffee in the kitchen of her 126-year-old Ottawa home, with her large boxer Chowder at her feet, as she talks about a piece of stained glass that will be added above the entryway between the kitchen and the sitting room.
It would give another beautiful touch to the two-story American Folk Victorian home, built in 1886, which features hardwood floors, high ceilings, a central staircase, a brick fireplace with a hand-crafted wooden mantelpiece, along with carefully detailed restorations throughout the home.
Kelley and her husband, the Rev. Dr. JC Kelley, will open their Heritage Homes-designated dwelling at 434 S. Walnut St. Dec. 9 to the community as one of four homes on the Ransom Memorial Hospital Auxiliary’s Christmas Homes Tour. The event runs 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
“We purchased the home in June 2011 from the Duderstadts, who completed a lot of the restoration work on the home,” Kelley said. “The fireplace in the living room on the first floor had fallen into disrepair and had been covered with sheet rock. The Duderstadts uncovered and rebuilt the fireplace, and Eric Duderstadt made the mantel and re-carved the spindles for the staircase. They did a really nice job remodeling the home.”
But one of the home’s original features caught Kelley’s eye.
“I like the original kitchen cabinets with the glass doors,” she said. “They remind me of the older home I grew up in. That was one of the features that attracted me to the home.”
Since the Kelleys purchased the house, they have had new windows and siding put on the home, as well as added a patio, rebuilt porches and decks, put on a new roof, and had a “little house” built in the side yard on the north side of the home. She said Bruce and Colt Waymire completed most of the work.
During the homes tour, visitors will see a small Christmas tree in the center of the Kelleys’ sitting room that features more than 60 names for Christ in the Bible, with a tree skirt that reads “And His name shall be called ... ”
“It’s not just because my husband is a pastor, but because we love the Lord, we wanted this room to reflect Christ,” Kelley said. “There were over 100 names for Christ in the Bible, and over 60 of those names will be featured on the tree.”
The home was constructed by Philetus Fales, a Union solder during the Civil War. Originally from Maine, Fales was a graduate of the Ivy League school Dartmouth University, Hanover, N.H. He served as president of Ottawa University from 1866 to 1868.
Kelley said she has heard many stories from local residents about people who used to live in the home or rented a former upstairs apartment.
“We have a history of the home, which lists some of the people who owned it, but I’ve had people tell me, ‘My grandmother lived in the apartment upstairs,’ or ‘My aunt used to live in this house,’” Kelley said. “I’m going to have a book available during the tour that I would like for people to sign if they have lived in the house, along with noting the years they lived here. I’d like to find out more about who has lived in the home.”
Proceeds from the homes tour fundraiser will support the Ransom Memorial Hospital Auxiliary Health Care Scholarship Fund, Louise Dietz, one of the auxiliary homes tour organizers, said. Nine scholarships, totaling $6,250, were awarded this year, Mary Royse, auxiliary president, said. The auxiliary has awarded 254 scholarships totaling $151,900 since 1973.
The scholarship program is close to Dietz’s heart. She was president of the auxiliary in 1973 when the scholarship program originated.
“This is our primary fundraiser for the scholarship fund,” Dietz said. “These scholarships have helped a lot of people through the years.”
To qualify for a scholarship, recipients have to be a resident of Franklin County or employee of Ransom Memorial Hospital, 1301 S. Main St., Ottawa, be enrolled or accepted in a health-related program offered by an accredited institution and have a 3.0 GPA or higher, Royse said. The health-related program requirement also includes dentistry, she said.
Royse and Dietz said the homes tour will feature four homes.
And ample parking is available near each house on the tour, Dietz said.
“People will not have to walk very far,” she said.
Tickets are available for a suggested donation of $10 per ticket before Dec. 9 and $12 per ticket the day of the tour. Advanced tickets are available at Chris’ Corner Quilt Shop, Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce, Turner Flowers, Country Living and the information desk at Ransom Memorial Hospital. Tickets are available at the hospital information desk the day of the tour, beginning at 11 a.m. Tickets will not be sold at the homes, and all visitors, regardless of age, must have a ticket, organizers said.
After touring the homes, ticket holders can stop by the hospital gift shop for refreshments and discounts on gift items during the RMH Gift Shop Holiday Open House. The gift shop is funded by the auxiliary and staffed with volunteers.
The RMH Auxiliary homes tour, co-sponsored by the Franklin County Convention and Visitors Bureau, also will feature two circa-1900 homes and a modern townhouse.
• 1104 S. Cedar St., owned by Sam and Peggy Caylor.
“The home was built in 1910, and it includes an antique oak mantel, original hardwood floors and original woodwork,” Peggy Caylor said.
The couple has owned the two-bedroom home for about four years.
“I saw the home on a previous homes tour and fell in love with it,” Caylor said. “I prefer older houses.”
• 404 S. Maple St., owned by Dr. Allan and Adela Fleming.
“The home is more than 100 years old and features Southern style columns and porches on the first and second floors,” Adela Fleming said. “It has very tall ceilings throughout the house and a very large front room, which I think speaks to how houses were built at that time.”
The porches on the back of the house mirror the ones on the front of the house, Fleming said, and the middle doors on the east and west sides of the home are aligned so they could be opened to allow cross-ventilation of the home.
Another interesting feature from the period, Fleming said, are the home’s antique tube-style radiators.
Fleming said she enjoys hearing stories from people who either lived in the home or played with friends at the home when they were children.
“Truly, just about anyone who has come to work on this home has said they have memories of the home,” she said. “One told me, ‘You know, I used to sleep upstairs in the summer time on the second-floor porch.’”
The Flemings moved into the home in 2008.
“It’s a wonderful old house with beautiful front porches and lovely, tall windows,” Fleming said. “My husband and I have always gravitated to the old homes.”
• 518 N. Spruce St., owned by Maggie Loyd.
“Everyone is always amazed at how spacious the townhouse is because it’s a single level,” Loyd said. “But it has high ceilings in the living room, with a fireplace. It has a separate dining room and kitchen, all electric, with three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a laundry room. And it has a pretty good-sized backyard.”
The townhouse is located across from GreatLife GreatLife Golf & Fitness, 1001 E. Logan St.
“This place is so comfortable, and it’s a lot bigger on the inside than it looks from the outside,” she said. “I’ve had 28 people in the home at one time for dinner.”
The home decor is done in the Tuscany style, Loyd said, reflecting the browns and golds and bronzes of that Italian region.
“Your typical Christmas colors are your reds and greens and whites, but I’ve decorated it for Christmas with the same browns, golds and bronzes to reflect the home’s Tuscany style,” Loyd said.
Loyd had lived in the home with her husband, Loyd Builders founder Allen Loyd Jr., until his death in April.
“My husband and I were very happy here, and this year was going to be a challenge for me after losing him in April,” Loyd said. “I wasn’t even going to put up a Christmas tree this year. But this homes tour has given me a reason to decorate.
“It probably took me a good month worth of decorating for it to all come together the way I wanted it to look. My dad taught me to do it right or don’t do it at all,” she said, laughing.
Loyd said she is looking forward to the homes tour.
“I’m excited about it,” she said. “It’s good for Ottawa to have things like this. It’s nice to let people into your home and make this a family-type affair.”
Doug Carder is senior writer for The Herald. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org