Tickets on sale for annual tour of homes
Piedmont Newnan Hospital Auxiliary will host its 26th Candlelight Tour of Homes Dec. 6 from 4-9 p.m., highlighting five homes in the historic Greenville-LaGrange district in Newnan.
Among the homes featured will be the Reese-Umberger-Wright home at 85 Greenville St.
Dr. J.T. Reese, a prominent Newnan physician, not only built an opera house on Newnan’s Court Square, but he also erected a five-room Greek Revival “cottage” in 1856 adjoining his pharmacy building. He communicated from home to business with Newnan’s first telephone.
All three buildings still stand; the brick pharmacy displays his name in brick on the façade. Dr. Reese and his wife Cornelia remodeled their stately home in the 1880s using the popular Italianate style, adding a second story. Another renovation in the early 1900s by his daughter, Mrs. William Turner, added columns, a balcony, a dormer window, a glass transom, mahogany oak pocket doors, and replaced most of the first floor heart pine with the more Victorian tiger oak flooring. Another Victorian influence was the altering of the simpler hand-planed and pegged mantels to the more ornate mahogany ones. The only original mantel remaining is in the dining room.
Sold in 1931, Dr. Reese’s former home operated as a boarding house and then rental property before remaining empty and open to ruin for several years, leading to an expected demolition. New owners intervened, however, and in the 1980s the house was purchased by the Steve and Bonnie Umberger family, who undertook the huge project of remodeling and restoring it to its former beauty.
The present owners, Steve and Kim Wright, have completely renovated the house from the foundation up, creating a magnificent home which is a tribute to its timelessness and innate elegance. A perfect blend of antiques, artwork, color, paintings, and interesting furnishings create a home which retains not only a rich historical experience but also a wonderful personal expression of the family who has made it their home.
The 40-foot long central hallway, large enough to accommodate dances in its heyday, anchors the house and sets the style for the large rooms that adjoin it. Of note is the ornately carved mahogany newel post, in which the original deeds to the house had been hidden. Other features to enjoy are the solid mahogany pocket doors, the creatively wide-striped walls, the massive balustrade leading to the second floor bedrooms, and the unusual stenciled frieze where the original plaster one once graced the top of the long, prominent walls.
A former owner made a stencil of the original plaster design, which had deteriorated, and gave it to Kim Wright, who hand stenciled the entire hall with the elaborate design. After meticulously painting every detail which had once existed there in three dimensions, she created a whisper of the rich past of this grand old home. The owners decorate extensively for the Christmas holidays, and visitors on the Tour of Homes will certainly enjoy the special effort made to “Deck the Halls” with history and cheer.
Other homes featured on the Dec. 6 tour will be:
• Turner-Nolen-Fanning home at 122 Greenville St.
• North-Rosenzweig-McCondichie home at 141 Greenville St.
• Cook-Healy home at 84 LaGrange St., and
• Bryant-Christiansen home at 108 LaGrange St.
Proceeds from the event will be directed towards a $150,000 pledge for the establishment of a Healing Garden at Piedmont Newnan Hospital on Poplar Road. This unique garden and water feature will be located to the right of the hospital’s front entrance with views from the chapel. It will serve as a refuge of beauty, peace, and serenity for the community, patients, and staff, said auxiliary members.
Tickets for the annual event went on sale Nov. 8 and may be purchased at the Piedmont Newnan Fitness Center in downtown Newnan, the Coweta County Visitors Center at the historic courthouse in downtown Newnan, Branch and Vine at Ashley Park, The Poplar Shop at Piedmont Newnan Hospital, Collectors’ Corner on Highway 34 East, Sharpsburg; and the gift shop at Piedmont Fayette Hospital, Fayetteville.
Tickets and information, including sponsorship opportunities, are also available from Auxiliary members or by calling the Auxiliary Office at 700-400-2380.
Tickets purchased in advance are $15. On the evening of the event, tickets may be purchased at any of the homes on tour for $20.