When a new brick sanctuary was erected in 1843 on West Winter Street in downtown Delaware, it replaced the small stone edifice that previously housed the congregation of First Presbyterian Church.
Not long after, new pews were installed in the building -- the same pews that continue to line the interior of the sanctuary today.
Historic buildings and lavish holiday decorating will be spotlighted again this year as part of the biennial Northwest Neighborhood Historic Holiday Homes Tour, set from 3 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8, at the church and in six homes near downtown Delaware.
All seven featured buildings will be decked out in their holiday finest for the one-day event.
"We plan to put up a small manger and a Christmas tree with Chrismons -- things that are symbolic of our Christian heritage," said First Presbyterian pastor the Rev. Deb Patterson.
Tour participants can purchase tickets and a guide to the self-directed tour then enjoy the decorations and historic architecture at their own pace, visiting and walking through each of the featured sites in any order they like.
Kris Kolb is chairwoman of the Delaware Northwest Neighborhood Association, which organized the tour. She said she hopes participants will pick up some decorating ideas along the way.
"Maybe you'll get inspired with ways to decorate your own home, or just start the season with some holiday spirit," she said.
The homes on the tour all were constructed between 1871 and 1925. Knowledgeable guides will be on hand at each of the sites to talk about the history of the church and homes.
First Presbyterian Church is located at 73 W. Winter St. The homes featured on the tour are at 160 and 161 W. Winter St., 176 W. Lincoln Ave., 24 Darlington Road, 270 W. Central Ave. and 339 N. Sandusky St.
Kolb said the Sandusky Street house might be of particular interest to locals.
"It's a very beautiful, very prominent home in the area. I think people will be really excited to see it," she said. "I really think people are going to be knocked out by this tour."
The homes vary in size, but all have distinctive architecture that dates to the time in which they were built, Kolb said.
A sign will be placed in the front yard of each of the featured homes to direct participants.
Tickets can be purchased in advance for $15 at Beehive Books, 25 N. Sandusky St., or for $20 on the day of the tour at the Arts Castle, 190 W. Winter St.
All participants must stop by the Arts Castle on the day of the tour to pick up a guide before visiting any of the locations. An exhibit featuring drawings and paintings of all the homes on the tour will be on display at the Arts Castle.