Bardstown Christmas tour to benefit the arts

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By Spencer Jenkins

This year’s Bardstown Christmas Tour of Homes features seven houses and a barn dressed in ribbons, bows and lights for the holiday season.


The annual tour is Saturday, Dec. 8, from 2 to 9 p.m. and sponsored by the Stephen Foster Music Club, an affiliate of the National Federation of Music Clubs.

Advanced tickets may be purchased at the Visitors Center in the old Nelson County Courthouse building on Court Square.

On the day of the tour, tickets may be purchased after 5 p.m. at the Fine Arts of Bardstown Society building on Court Square. The ticket price is $15 and includes My Old Kentucky Home. Proceeds from the tour will again be used for scholarships for area students to attend Stephen Foster Music Camp at Eastern Kentucky University.

Proceeds will also help fund the summer concerts in the park series.

By giving scholarships, it really helps the performing arts in Bardstown, Virginia Drake, the organizer of the event, previously told the Standard.

“That’s really the purpose of the Christmas Tour of Homes,” she said. “The money goes back to the community and community arts.”

She added that Bardstown is known as the second oldest city in Kentucky with a lot of tradition and history.

“The history of some of the homes depicts some of the history of Bardstown,” she said.

Drake said she expects up to 600 people compared to last year’s estimated 500 people.

“It’s a lot of out-of-town guests,” she said. “Being the most beautiful small town in America, advertising will help attendance.”

She added that without the music club in Bardstown, it would create a huge void.

“It’s a vital part of the arts in our community,” Drake said.

Locations and descriptions of the homes:

• The tour begins at D.L. and Virginia Chowning’s home at 220 N. Charity Heights. The home was completed in 1998 and has a western lodge influence having been built of quarry stone, ponderosa pine columns, redwood and oak beams. The barn is also included in the tour, and it’s used for entertaining their large family. It features a bar with leather cowhide inserts and a massive fireplace as one unit leading to the upstairs bedroom.

• The second house belongs to Fred and Lyda Moore at 3225 Mary Jo. Blvd. The six-bedroom home was built in the 1970s in the “raised ranch” architectural style. The Moores have updated the home by removing walls, renovating the kitchen, adding two bedrooms and reformatting floors with hardwood tile laminate.

• Stop number three features Israel Berry’s two-story, 3,000-foot home at 407 N. Third St., built in the 1970s. Many alterations have been made, including a redecorated living-dining room. On display is a St. Nicholas Square Village, with 52 miniature buildings and decorated trees and thousands of lights.

• Refreshments will be served at the Bardstown Baptist Church on the corner of Third and Brashear streets. The massive stone structure of Gothic design was built from 1892 to 1893. A recent addition includes a kitchen, educational space and a fellowship hall.

• The law office of Chad McCoy at 114 S. Third St. is also known as the Kinkead-Wickliffe House. It was built in three sections and in the Greek and Colonial Revival styles. The office has been completely renovated and modernized.

• The sixth house, owned by James and Teri Routt, at 214 E. John Fitch Ave., is also known as the Kate Aud House. It was built in 1896. Kate Aud worked as a seamstress when she bought the house in 1898. Its flared columns and low wall protect the double entry doors in the corner. It’s also listed on the National Registry.

• Kandi Walton’s home, located at 317 E. Raspberry Alley, is called “The Raz” and is located on one of the original plots of land in Bardstown. It is one of the oldest structures, built in 1826.

• Larry and Mary Ellyn Hamilton live at 413 N. Second St. Frank Wilson had this home built soon after the purchase of land in 1925. A coin toss was made to determine who would obtain the first housing loan. It was the boyhood home of Mayor Guthrie M. (Gus) Wilson.

• Federal Hill, located at My Old Kentucky Home State Park, 501 E. Stephen Foster Ave., was completed in 1818 and built as the residence of Judge John Rowan and family. It was purchased by Kentucky in 1922, restored and opened to the public. The mansion and gift shop will be open until 9 p.m.

For more information, call 502-348-4877, 502-348-5957 or 502-348-5930.