Doors open to five magnificent Madison houses Dec. 1
WRITTEN BY GREGG PARKER
PHOTOGRAPHS BY JOSHUA BERRY
Visitors can view turn-of-the century charm, opulent furnishings and beautiful holiday decorations during the Christmas Tour of Homes in downtown Madison.
Madison Station Historical Preservation Society is sponsoring the tour Dec. 1 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The tour homes are located on Martin, Front, Maple and Church streets in the downtown historical district.
“The Christmas Tour of Homes is the kickoff of a full year of celebration for Alabama’s 200th Anniversary and Madison’s 150th Anniversary,” historical society member Joni Haas said. “There will be an event each month to celebrate.”
To view monthly activities during 2019, visit www.madisonal.gov/Madison150 or Madison150AL200 on Facebook.
The 2018 Christmas Tour of Homes showcases five houses with distinct and varying construction trends of their era:
- Anderson-Sensenberger Home, 17 Front St., Tony and Cindy Sensenberger.
- Lewis-Wann-Powell Home, 302 Church St., Teddy and Rikki Powell.
- Pride-Bashore Home, 320 Martin St., Charles and Jennifer Bashore.
- Thorson-Haas Home, 113 Maple St., Joni and Scott Haas.
- Thomas-Wheeler-Vaughn Home, 307 Church St., Thomas and Laura Vaughn.
Tour coordinators are Debbie Hoover, Debbie Overcash, Cindy Sensenberger and Marsha Willis.
“The time of construction for these houses is close, but the architectural style of each house varies. You won’t see the same thing twice,” Haas said.
In addition, visitors can enjoy the charm of historic churches. Carolers, dressed in period costumes, will sing at the Madison Gazebo and “will surely put everyone in the Christmas spirit,” Haas said.
“Madison is fortunate to have so many beautiful historic homes and even more fortunate that these wonderful homeowners are so generously sharing them with us all on Dec. 1,” historical society president Debbie Overcash said. “Dec. 1 promises to be a wonderful day in Madison.”
Tickets cost $15 each and are available at Main Street Cafe, 101 Main St.; Noble Passage Interiors, 202-204 Main St.; and Madison Station Antiques, 100 Main St. Dec. 1, society members will sell tickets at The Roundhouse on Front Street.
“We hope all of our downtown merchants will join in the Christmas spirit and hold open house Dec. 1,” Haas added.
The historical society sponsors the Tour of Homes every other year. For more information, visit historicmadisonstation.com or Madison Station Historical Preservation Society on Facebook.
- Thorson-Haas Home
113 Maple St.
The turn-of-the-century Thorson-Haas Home was the longtime residence of Roy W. Thorson’s family, who were farmers.
The 1.5-story house’s hipped roof extends over the veranda, supported by six Tuscan columns. Sidelights extend to a transom. Large front windows feature leaded glass.
In 1980 Joan Lynch Spruiell purchased the home, updated plumbing/electrical, added a laundry and enlarged the bathroom. After Joan married Scott F. Haas in 1984, they replaced the tin roof with shingles and the verandah’s banister. They also converted the upstairs into a living/bedroom area with en suite and two walk-in closets and renovated the kitchen and downstairs bath.
For two years, Joan and Scott have been remodeling the downstairs, preserving original architectural niceties.
Other distinctions are pocket doors and heart-of-pine floors.
- Lewis-Wann-Powell Home
302 Church St.
During Reconstruction, Arthur Holding Lewis built this house in 1873, while courting Mattie Cartwright. Lewis owned a general store at Main and Wise streets. Lewis’ father, Meriwether A. Lewis, was a Triana plantation owner and second cousin to explorer Meriwether Lewis.
In the house, builders used beams and boards from M.A. Meriwether’s salvaged steamboats for floor beams and clapboards.
Fred and Ora B. Wann eventually bought the house. He worked as a clerk, while Ora was Madison Post Master from 1915-1948.
In 2012, Teddy and Rikki Powell purchased the Victorian farmhouse and completed extensive restoration, added rooms and a two-story, two-car garage with upstairs playroom/study.
The house is listed on the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage.
- Anderson-Sensenberger Home
17 Front St.
Matthew Harvey Anderson, a Madison banker and merchant, built this house in 1897. Dr. James Allen Kyser bought the property in 1926. By mid-century, Billy J. and Nancy Jane Jones of Huntsville bought the house.
The structure later deteriorated to near collapse by the 1990s. In 1997, Tony and Cindy Sensenberger bought the property at auction.
The house’s Victorian architecture uses Tuscan columns and a porch that curves eastward. The multi-gabled, high-pitched roof has a central peak. The home retains original leaded-glass windows, two corner fireplaces and an iron fence.
In massive restoration, the Sensenbergers replaced the house’s rear with a two-story addition, including kitchen and upstairs family area, playroom and bedrooms.
- Pride-Bashore Home
320 Martin St.
In 1911, Dr. William Thomas Pride and his wife, Mary Fletcher Pride, built this house on downtown’s eastern edge. Pride served as the second physician to treat Madison citizens.
The Pride-Bashore Home has a large verandah, with an extension of a hipped roof covering the area. The house was constructed in bungalow style, very popular in the early 20th century.
The peaceful setting of this home on a knoll is accentuated by the wooded, winding lane that accesses the property. This layout is quite different from the houses in the central part of town. Charles and Jennifer Bashore now own the home.
- Thomas-Wheeler-Vaughn Home
307 Church St.
Thomas and Laura Vaughn own this Queen Anne Victorian home, which Dea T. Thomas built in 1910.
The two-story “T” style features an unusual central entry with a split staircase and a balcony or “open hall.” The home has a full front porch and a second-story sleeping porch in the rear.
Subsequent owners added rooms. In the 1950s, the house was divided into three apartments but later restored to a single-family residence.
Ceilings extend 11 feet downstairs and 9 feet upstairs. The house retains original wide baseboards, bulls-eye window, door trim and three fireplaces.