Johnstown Independent

West Licking Historical Society

Special condo, museum highlight Dec. 2 home tour

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Not every stop on a holiday tour of homes must adhere to a Norman Rockwell air of perfection to be interesting and appealing to tourists, said Mary Lou Fairall, chair of the West Licking Historical Society's Home Tour Committee.

The historical society's 2012 Country Holiday Home Tour is from 1 to 6 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 2.

One of this year's eight home tour sites is a condominium owned by Matthew Parker, 3996 York Road, in rural Harrison Township.

"I'm so proud of this young man," Fairall said.

The condo is built to meet Parker's disability that resulted from a brain injury he sustained in an accident on June 6, 1984.

Local architect Dean Ramsey designed it.

Parker decorates the condo for Christmas for himself and his brain-injury support group, called the "Headbangers."

"The good food, friendship and hope shared by all are welcome in the lives of survivors of live traumas," said Martha Tykodi, historical society president and publicity chair. "Matthew invites each of you to come and enjoy the Christmas spirit with him and his family on Dec. 2."

Fairall also looks forward to visitors enjoying the new Mead-Needham Museum, 300 S. Main St., in Old Pataskala.

She said the new addition to the community is dedicated to the preservation of the history of Etna, Harrison and Jersey townships, the villages therein, the village of Kirkersville and the city of Pataskala.

Although most of its structure is complete, Fairall describes it as a work in progress.

"It's going to be a fluid museum," she said, meaning displays will constantly change and be updated. "I think it's beautiful."

In addition, Howard and Rosemary Emswiler's antique tractor collection, 13167 Morse Road, in Jersey Township, will return by popular demand, and it should hold a few new surprises, Fairall said.

"Who knows what Howard has done in the last 12 months?" she said.

She said last year, historical society members predicted the tractor collection would be a hit, but they had no idea how popular it would become.

The collection also includes antique toys.

Other stops on the tour are:

* Kirkersville United Methodist Church, 180 E. Main St., in Kirkersville. The historic church was built by the Presbyterians in 1842 and was sold to the Methodists in 1893 for $250. The room that is now the sanctuary was the original church with an entrance on the south wall and the altar on the north wall. The church building was remodeled in 1908.

* The home of Trent and Irisol Stepp, 319 Trail East, in the Cumberland Trail subdivision in Etna Township. The home will feature cultural traditions of the United States and Venezuela, with the latter's traditional nativity scene.

* The historic Sterling Theater, Pataskala Town Hall, 430 S. Main St., in Old Pataskala. The theater is on the second floor of the historic town hall, which was built in 1916 and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.

* The home of Edward and Nancy Gero, 5011 Hazelton-Etna Road, in rural Harrison Township. The home was built in 1965 and is a part of the land originally owned by the Angevine family of local dairy fame.

* The home of Shari Alward, 2833 Headleys Mill Road, in the Jersey area. The home was built in the 1880s and has been in the Alward family since the 1950s. The Alwards are descendants of the pioneer Alward family that first came to central Ohio from New Jersey in 1818.

Tykodi said the tour is a driving tour. Tourists may visit as many of the sites as they wish and in whatever order is convenient for them.

Door prizes are a possibility for those who turn in their tickets at the last site they visit; visitors may also find Christmas goodies at some of the locations, she said.

"We're not here just to show off," Fairall said. "We want to welcome people into our homes and have a warm start to Christmas."

Tickets, maps and other information are available Dec. 2 for a donation of $10 per person or $15 per family at the Bremen Banking Center in Pataskala, all branches of the Pataskala Banking Co., the Pataskala and Kirkersville branches of Park National Bank and each tour site.

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