Licking County News

West Licking Historical Society

Annual home tour helps kick off holiday season

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The West Licking Historical Society's 14th annual home tour will be from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8, at eight sites in the city of Pataskala and Etna, Harrison and Jersey townships.

"It's a 'warm feeling' kind of tour," said Martha Tykodi, the historical society's president.

The tour will feature a historic church building and a Masonic lodge.

Tykodi said the tour is completely authentic: no sites have hired outside companies to decorate for the holidays.

"This is the way they celebrate Christmas and they've opened up their homes to us," Tykodi said. "It's all homespun kinds of things. No one is turning their homes into something they're not."

Tykodi said patrons must provide their own transportation between the sites, but there are several homes near the Old Village area of Pataskala that are within walking distance of each other.

She said heartfelt hospitality, holiday decor and maybe even a goody or two await visitors in each of the sites.

The first is site is the home of Shadye and Ronnie Dotson, 53 Carnation Place, Willowbrook East in Etna Township. The Spanish-influenced exterior ranch home was built in 1979 and features an open floor plan, cathedral ceilings and red oak flooring surrounded by extensive deck and garden-type landscaping, according to the historical society.

At the second site, Laurie and Tom VanBalen, 543 S. Main St. in Pataskala, have turned their 100-year-old home into a haven for their family and friends as well as a venue for an art and music studio. They describe their kitchen as the "center of their flexible household," according to the historical society.

The third site is the historic Sterling Theater, 430 S. Main St. in the old Pataskala Town Hall. It is on the second floor of the building, which was built in 1916 and placed on the National Register of Historical Places in 1983.

The fourth site is the Mead-Needham Museum, 300 S. Main St. in Pataskala. A display of old toys, including a large doll house built in 1937 by the late Benson Headlee, will be on display.

Next, Kristi and Ian Murphy's home at 257 S. Main St. in Pataskala was built by W. H. Mead II for his daughter, Burdelle, who was married to E. H. Grove, president of the Pataskala Banking Co. from 1919 to 1952. Other owners included Bill Bailey, a former mayor of Pataskala. The Murphys purchased the home in 2013.

The Pataskala Masonic Lodge, 116 S. Vine St. in Pataskala, across from the library, was the former home of the Pataskala Nazarene Church. Cookies and punch await visitors there.

The seventh site is Jersey Baptist Church, 13260 Morse Road, Jersey Township. It will host performances by the Christmas Carol Choir, Children's Choir, Bell Choir and other individual musical presentations.

Finally, Howard and Rosemary Emswiler's antique tractor collection, 13167 Morse Road in Jersey Township, is a tour staple.

After building their home on Morse Road in 1976, they have constructed buildings in which to store their farm equipment, which includes a large collection of antique tractors and modern farm equipment.

Tickets are available at Bremen Banking Center of Pataskala, the Pataskala branch of Park National Bank and all locations of the Pataskala Banking Co. for $10 per person or $15 per family. Proceeds go to educational projects, some financial support of the Mead-Needham Museum, maintenance of the Historic Etna Township house, displays in the Historic Outville Depot and Historic Harrison Township House, as well as other community projects and needs.

"We try to be part of the community in any we can," Tykodi said. "We're committed and we're busy."

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