Historic House Tour Lives Up To Its Name

You’d think that a Holiday House Tour — sponsored by the Westport Historical Society — would feature, well, historic houses.

That’s what Ed Gerber thought in 2010. He’d just moved into his own historic home on Cross Highway.

Surprised that all the holiday houses he toured were McMansions, he set out to create a real New England event.

His goal was to showcase homes built before 1850 — where today, in 2016, families live comfortably, lovingly and enthusiastically.

Ed — who is now immediate past president of the WHS — has finally done it. Next month’s tour features 5 houses in Westport, 1 in Easton — as well as the very historic Adams Academy.

One of the homes on the Westport Historical Society's 30th annual Holiday House Tour.

One of the homes on the Westport Historical Society’s 30th annual Holiday House Tour.

Only one lies in a designated historic district. All others are owned by families who love the uniqueness of their homes, and make alterations consistent with their style and history.

The 30th annual Holiday House Tour is set for Sunday, December 4 (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.). Tour-goers will enjoy:

  • The circa 1700 John Platt House, one of the oldest in Westport
  • A 1760 home
  • A house with multiple hearths (all ablaze) and a mystery mural in a stairway
  • The former residence of H. Daniel Webster, who designed the Minute Man monument at Compo Beach
  • An expanded renovation with a tavern room
  • Adams Academy, Westport’s 1-room schoolhouse.

All have been adapted for 21st-century living, but pay homage to the past with inspiring decorations and nostalgic holiday cheer.

Home is where the hearth is.

Home is where the hearth is.

We may think of Westport as the teardown capital of the world. But you can kick off the holiday season with a tour of homes that have stood the test of time.

A loooong time. Just think of all the Christmases that 1700 home has seen!

(Tickets for the December 4 Holiday House Tour are $60 in advance, $70 the day of the event. The day before, the Westport Historical Society sponsors a Holiday Soiree at historic Lockwood-Mathews Mansion in Norwalk [6 to 9 p.m.] with food, drinks, live entertainment, and silent and live auctions. Tickets are $150 in advance. Tickets for both events, and more information, is available at www.westporthistory.org, the WHS at 25 Avery Place, or by calling 203-222-1424.)

6 responses to “Historic House Tour Lives Up To Its Name

  1. It’s quite an eye-opener to drive the back roads of Wilton or Ridgefield and compare the houses to Westport’s. – Chris Woods

    • Try Greenfield Hill in Fairfield. There are dozens of antique gems on Bronson, Hillside and Burr Roads. Southport also has many. I doubt if any will be Teardowns of the Day.

  2. I congratulate the families who are opening up their lovely homes for the upcoming Tour! I know how hard it is to find someone to allow so many people to walk into your life. A few times I found this was a way to advertise a house for sale. Well done I will enjoy it this year!

  3. It’s at Christmas time when our beloved Banks Tavern, as most antique homes, comes to life. Even though we realize that the celebrations and decorations that we cherish are only Victorian, at best, and those hearths predate that era by several generations, it’s still a real Currier & Ives event that we anticipate with great joy each year. How wonderful that the Historic Society has chosen to embrace it with such obvious affection!

    So do celebrate, in good cheer, these treasures dotted throughout our towns and be grateful that the crooked, hilly, narrow, former footpath and carriage trails that we call our backroads are not the only signs of our Colonial heritage! They, as such, validate the fact that these venerable homes BELONG here. Cheers!

    • I agree! It’s great to see the antique houses being featured. My wife loves to deck out the house at Christmas time (1793 Lockwood house). Growing up in Weston, I’ve seen many of the old homes around but never yours. I hope you don’t mind if I knock on your door.

  4. Adam’s Academy isn’t Westport’s only one-room school house, nor is it the oldest. Our home at 38 Kings HIghway School was built c.1812 and named Shercrow School (possibly after in Indian chieftain). More on our home can be found at:L http://westporthistory.org/plaques/38-kings-highway-north-2/