HOLLY SPRINGS • Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the Marshall County Historical Museum will host its annual Christmas Tour of Homes this year.
“We’ve added a day to the tour to spread people out, and masks will be required,” said Jim Moore, director of the museum. “We may have to limit the number of people in the homes at one time, depending on whatever local ordinance is in place at the time. This is our one fundraiser each year, and we feel like we can do it safely.”
The tour will be Dec. 4-5 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Dec. 6 from 1 to 5 p.m. Tickets are $20 ($15 for groups of 10 or more) and may be purchased at marshallcountymuseum.com or by calling (662) 252-3669.
The three homes on tour all belong to Terry Cook and Terry Porterfield. The couple bought Walter Place in 2019, and Featherston and Polk Place in 2020. Mike and Jorja Lynn were the most recent owners of the three antebellum houses.
“We bought the homes as investments, but also to save them,” Cook said.
“We’d admired Walter Place for a long time, but never dreamed of buying it,” Porterfield added.
The men undertook a huge restoration project, but the three homes, which had fallen into disrepair, are now all up and running.
“They’re all functioning as homes again,” Cook said.
Work included removing wallpaper, replastering and painting the walls, replacing windows and porches, fixing foundational issues, remodeling the pool and redoing bathrooms.
Cook and Porterfield use Walter Place as their residence. The Gothic Revival home with its signature turrets was built between 1857 and 1860. The 6,000-square-foot home has six bedrooms, six bathrooms, 13-foot ceilings and 11 layers of molding in the living room, dining room and foyer.
“It has all the original hardwood floors,” Porterfield said. “We didn’t touch those, except for the study – it had carpet and we took it out and sanded the wood. Gen. Grant used the study as his office for a time during the Civil War.”
Featherston, built in 1934, and Polk Place, built in 1849, are both Greek Revival in style. The couple rents those out for business meetings, special events and weddings.
“We shopped for a year to fill the homes with period furniture,” Cook said. “Each piece was picked out individually. A lot of it came locally from estate sales. People have even called us and offered us pieces they wanted back in the house.”
“We tried to purchase period pieces, from French to Empire to Eastlake,” Porterfield said.
All three homes will be decked out with Christmas finery for the tours. Both men have collected Christmas decorations for years, but they’ve had to buy many more to fill the large homes.
“It’s a little over the top,” Porterfield said. “But we would have decorated like this even if we weren’t on the tour.”