The 2019 Nights Before Christmas Candlelight Tour of Homes will feature six private homes, one churches, the Lanier Mansion, the Schofield House, the Talbot-Hyatt House and the JCHS History Center. There will also be four Hospitality Sites with restrooms, where tour goers can stop in for a free refreshment, restroom break or to shop. Hospitality sites include The Primitive Porch, Muddy Forks Antiques, Little Golden Fox, and Olde Tyme Marketplace.
Dates for this year’s tour are November 29 & 30 and December 6 & 7. Hours for the tour are Fridays 5-9 and Saturdays 3-9. Tickets are on sale now at the Visitors Center, 601 W. First St. and online at www.nightsbeforechristmas.com Ticket prices are $15.00 for adults, through Nov. 15 and $20 after. Children’s tickets are $5 for children ages 3-12.
All six homes have never before seen on any previous home tour. The Backus Home on W. Main St. is an 1884 Gable front and modified to Italianate in 1910. The Helton Home on W. Main St. was originally constructed in two phases. Around 1941, the front half was constructed and served as a local barber shop. In 1954, the second half was added and was used as a living space for tenants. Hope Cottage, on E. Second St. was lovingly named as a tribute to the owner’s mother. This gable front house is circa 1880 and features a main door which has a wide decorative surround with a cornice, bulls eyes and diamond patterns. The Strouse House on W. First St. is a carriage house inspired home and was completed in May 2019. Although new, much effort was put into the design and build of the home, to ensure it fit into Madison’s historic district. The original structure was a single story body shop for many years. Instead of demolishing the body shop, the current structure was built incorporating it. The White House on East St. is a Federal style row house and was built in 1832. And lastly, the Fox Home, is a charming four- square craftsman that embodies a cottage feel. This home previously served as a duplex for two different families. The Fox family purchased the property and began the task of converting it to a single family dwelling. (See below)
The Fox Home on Elm Street.As always, Madison’s “crown jewel”, the Lanier Mansion will be featured as well as the Schofield House and the Jefferson County Historical Society’s History Center, which will display gingerbread houses made by area children. This year, Historic Madison, Inc. will present the Talbott-Hyatt House, tour-goers will see this property is currently undergoing renovations, it will be the future home for HMI in 2020. St. John’s Church of Christ on E. Main St. was built in 1842. The architectural style of the church is Greek Classic Revival. The church houses one of the most treasured working historic organs in Indiana, purchased for $1,000 in 1872. The organ is still used during church services.
Another popular feature of the tour is the Great Cookie Caper! This event is held at the Visitors Center, 601 W. First St. It features a wide selection of homemade cookies and unique sweet treats. Cookies and treats may be purchased by the box for $6 or $15. This will be the 9th year for the Cookie Caper and each year the Christmas tour donates all proceeds to a local charitable organization. This year’s sales will benefit Ruth Haven of Madison. Since its inception, the Cookie Caper in conjunction with “Nights” has raised nearly $25,000.00. Past beneficiaries include Lide White Boy’s and Girl’s Club, Big Brothers Big Sisters and Habitat for Humanity, Salvation Army, and Jefferson County Youth Shelter. The hours for the Cookie Caper are 4-7 pm on both Fridays and 1-7pm on both Saturdays of the tour.