GALLIPOLIS — The French Art Colony, multi-arts cultural center in Gallipolis, will host its 21st annual Holiday Home Tour on Friday evening, Dec. 9, from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m., and Saturday afternoon, Dec. 10, from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Featured in this year’s Holiday Tour, spanning both Gallipolis and Point Pleasant, W.Va., are homes, churches, a gallery and museum, the Colony Club restaurant and, of course, Riverby (circa 1855), home of the French Art Colony and its new outdoor Pavilion, an important part of the tour and the hub of activity, for refreshments and ticket sales.
In Gallipolis, the Botkin home, located at 760 First Avenue, at the corner of Pine Street, is the newest home on the tour, built in 2012. It is a traditional cottage, with outside construction of stone and vinyl siding, featuring a wrap-around porch, offering a spectacular view of the Ohio River and across the River, a scenic view of West Virginia. Inside this one floor plan home, furnishings carry out a French traditional theme, with Fleur di-lis highlights and Christmas decorations by Four Seasons Florist, from Point Pleasant.
At 1073 Second Avenue, the Mayes home is said to be pre-1895. Inside the home is the original deep oak wood staircase, along with authentic wood floors, both upstairs and downstairs. The original woodwork, in the living room and dining room, creates a sense of home, in a fast-paced world. The small, but loved Ohio River view, is seen from a backyard of plants, roses and trees, draped with fairy lights, along with an evening fire in the stone pit.
The Wiseman home at 6212 State Route 7 South, is the oldest home, built circa 1880, and has been restored with loving care, to its original beauty, while being appropriately updated for maximum comfort. It overlooks the Ohio River, with a great view of the West Virginia hills. This two story frame home includes seven rooms, two baths, a front porch facing East and a second floor veranda, off the spacious master bedroom, looking North into the City of Gallipolis.
The Haddox home is in Point Pleasant. Jan Haddox and his late wife Mary, wanted to do something different. Jan had read about the vertical timber and spline construction, the way homes were built in Bavaria. He decided, since he owned a hammer and a checkbook, he and his wife could build such a house, from scratch, themselves. They began the day school was out and moved into their new home the following Christmas. The walls were built first, almost like a fort, with splices between each timber, then the spruce beams were set and the rest was easy, he said. This unique home is located at 201 Fulton Drive in Point Pleasant.
Also in Point Pleasant, included on the holiday tour, is the Gallery at 409, an art gallery/museum, established in July 2008, to revitalize the arts culture in Mason County, W.Va., and surrounding communities. The gallery showcases artistic talent in the river valley region, by having a venue where local artists can exhibit their work. The goal of the Gallery is to make art collections and services accessible, for the inspiration, learning and enjoyment of all, while providing educational opportunity for youth, who otherwise may not have stimulating exposure to the arts.
The Colony Club, 419 Second Avenue in Gallipolis, is the 1937 Colony Theater, renovated into a restaurant with full bar, a stage and movie screen, featuring food, drinks and entertainment. This unique venue has a variety of seating options, to meet the needs of its patrons, whether it’s for a business lunch, intimate dining or larger gathering. When you step through the original doors, you could see an old movie or sporting event, playing on the big screen. The brick walls and original tapestries add to the relaxing atmosphere. Patrons can choose between main level table seating or, four steps down, relax on comfortable couches, chairs or theater seats.
The First Baptist Church, located at 1100 Fourth Avenue, was constructed in 1998, enabling the church to offer convenient parking and multiple access points to different areas of the building. The sanctuary provides comfortable seating for over 600 people. In addition to housing the church, the building is the home of the Ohio Valley Christian School, offering Christian education for area children. Currently there are approximately 130 students, Pre-K through 12th grade. Construction of the adjoining Activity Center was completed in 2013 and houses a gymnasium, two classrooms, a youth room and full kitchen facility.
Paint Creek Regular Missionary Baptist Church dates back to September 1833, when a committee of nine organized in the home of Isaac Lewis, on the banks of a small stream called “Paint Creek”. From 1833 to 1870, the group met in two different locations, until they purchased a small portion of the lot at 833 Third Avenue, its present location. There have been many updates to Paint Creek Church proper over these 146 years.
Tickets for this year’s Holiday Tour are $15 and a ticket is good for both Friday evening’s Candlelight Tour and Saturday afternoon, providing plenty of time to visit both Gallipolis and Point Pleasant. Tickets may be reserved and purchased in advance by contacting the French Art Colony at 740/446-3834, and will also be available at Riverby, both Friday evening and Saturday afternoon. While at Riverby, those on tour are urged to bid on one of the beautiful items in the Gallipolis Junior Women’s Club Tree and Wreath silent auction.