ATTICA - After a 10-year hiatus, the Attica Area Historical Society is to host a holiday home tour 1-4 p.m. Dec. 4. Four homes and a church are to be open for viewing at a cost of $7 per person. The history room in the Seneca East Public Library will have tickets for sale the day of the tour.
Each stop is described below.
Legacy Life Enrichment Center, 2 N. Main St.
The building at 2 N. Main St., in the center of Attica, has housed many businesses over its lifetime, including an antique store and numerous grocery stores. Originally, it was three separate buildings, but now it is one building.
Old and new photos are to be on display.
The current occupant is a non-denominational church, Legacy Life Enrichment Center, which opened in December 2010. The historical tour also is to serve as the church's one-year anniversary celebration. Visitors can enjoy light refreshments or just sit near the fireplace and listen to live seasonal harp music.
Donnie and Carol Martin home, 1786 Wurtz Road
Don and Carol Martin built their home in 2002 and moved in the following year. The story-and-a-half residence features brown brick-and-vinyl siding with a wraparound porch on three sides. Built on a hill, the home has a walk-out basement, which includes a family room with a fireplace.
"Our house is not a big, fancy house. It's more of a country home," Carol said.
In the basement, two large bookcases with glass doors hold tobacco tins and shelves in a bathroom have a collection of medicine tins Don has been gathering "for years."
One wall is devoted to family history memorabilia, while Don's traps and hunting trophies adorn the bar area.
Slate salvaged from roofs was used for the counter of the bar, and the walls have a wainscoting of weathered barn siding.
Carol said she and Don and other family members helped them find used materials and transport them to the home site. Limestone from the foundation of a barn that had burned down became landscaping material.
"The beam in our basement is from an old barn," she said. "We didn't put pavers down. We went to Willard and picked up chunks of sidewalk, and we hauled sand from the creek down below. Believe me, we built this house every possible way to be budget-conscious and to do it ourselves."
In addition to its recycled materials, the house also is energy efficient. Rural water is available, but the Martins chose to build an 18,000-gallon cistern. A geothermal heating system and a woodburner in the fireplace keep energy costs down. An open stairwell allows heat to rise to the rooms above.
On the main floor, an open kitchen and dining area connect to the open living room. Carol's collectible country kitchenware adorns the kitchen and mingles with rustic and traditional decor.
Don, a contractor, has contributed his skills to the furnishings.
"The home has pieces all through it that he has refinished," Carol said. "I'm not into pretty. I'm into battered-type things. I'm going to decorate with pine boughs and pine cones. ... I use all my copper boilers and those type of things."
Jim and Nancy
Schumacher Home, 16094 TR 104
The Schumacher house was built in 1892 by David Holmes. In 1924, his daughter, Esther Holmes Bogner, was deeded the home and farm. It remained in the Bogner family until 1962 when Paul and Ruth Schumacher purchased it and moved their family to Attica.
Jim and Nancy had built a newer home next to the farmhouse and lived there until 2004. They sold their house to their son and moved into the homestead in 2004.
The upstairs has six rooms that once accommodated Jim and his 11 siblings. The large table they once used remains in the kitchen.
The couple has a photo of the house as it looked in the early 1900s.
"We put new countertops on, we did the cupboards, we painted, we put in new windows, new floors," Nancy said.
Although they have done a lot of updating, they have retained the charm of days gone by. On one side of the kitchen are contemporary appliances and fixtures. The opposite side has a large baker's cupboard with a dry sink and breadboard, and a vintage green-and-cream enamel stove.
Nancy said she enjoys going to sales to find decorative and collectible items.
"I started collecting that cream-and-green graniteware 20 or 25 years ago. Now, you can't hardly find it," Nancy said. "I like old stuff, and if I could go primitive, I would -- but it's not practical."
To get the house ready for the tour, Nancy "wined and dined" a group of friends and then put them to work hanging Christmas decorations.
Malcolm and Mary Brook home, 107 N.
After residing in Attica from 1968 to 1981, the Brooks chose to retire there. Bernard Lumber Co. built their country-style home in 1998. Designed by Malcom, it features a cathedral ceiling in the great room, which houses the living room, dining room and kitchen.
"It was sort of a dream of mine. We'd lived in a parsonage for 35 years, so I always had to take whatever was there. I always said, when I get my own house, I want windows to the east and I wanted a great room, and that's what we have here," Mary said.
Malcom was a pastor for 35 years in the United Methodist Church and served 13 years at the church in Attica. Although Mary grew up in Shelby, she and her husband wanted to live near at least one of their children.
"All of our daughters graduated from Seneca East High School. One of our daughters married a local boy who was a farmer. We knew that they would always stay where the land was," Mary said.
While Malcom's mother was living, she made round reed baskets, and she taught Mary the process. Mary inherited the supplies and books when her mother-in-law died.
After storing the materials for more than 10 years, a friend of Mary's in Shelby announced she was retiring from the postal service and opening a basket shop in Plymouth. Mary went there to take classes and discovered she had a talent for the craft.
Mary has been making her own baskets since 1985, and many of them are incorporated into her Christmas decor. The island between the kitchen and dining area serves as her "studio." In the great room, Mary also has a nativity set she carved out of wood for her grandchildren and other young visitors to play with.
Other rooms also have nativity sets. She brought back some of her decorations from Russia, where she worked in an orphanage with the church's Russian Initiative.
"A lot of the ornaments are from Russia because I made several trips to Russia," Mary said. "I've had exchange students from Russia -- one from St. Petersburg and one from (the former) Estonia, and a third one from Kursk, Russia. We've had 10 exchange students all together."
Mary is hoping to make one last excursion to "say goodbye" to the good friends she made in Russia.
On the Brooks' television is a group of figurines in furs and fleece that resemble Santas. Mary said they are the Russian version of Santa, called Bellschnichel. Folklore says he walks from village to village visiting children.
"He doesn't make a list. He just comes with what you deserve. If you deserved twigs, you got the twigs. If you deserved something
better, you maybe got oranges or whatever," she said.
Mary has invited Ed and Etta Rowe from Oberlin to bring their spinning wheels to her home. Ed is considered among the top 10 spinning wheel experts in the United States.
Mary heard him speak at a recent meeting at Lyme Village in Bellevue, where she is a member of the board.
The Rowes and their 9-year-old granddaughter are to demonstrate spinning for home tour guests and answer questions about their craft.
Virginia Roth home,
210 N. Woodwind Drive
Virginia Roth was 4 months old when she and her parents moved to Attica. Standard Oil had hired her father to distribute fuel to farmers, and she has remained in the area since.
Her historic brick house was featured on previous home tours, but her current residence is in Melody Estates, Attica's first condominiums.
The adjacent condo is to have an open house during the tour so visitors can see what Virginia's residence looked like when she moved in. Virginia said she was able to choose the kitchen cabinets and countertops.
Many of the furnishings came from her previous residence, but she had to pare the pieces she wanted to keep.
"I had three auctions. I had a big house," Virginia said.
Her Santa Claus collection, cobalt blue glass and other keepsakes made the move with her. The Santas inhabit a cabinet in the sun room and a tabletop in the open living area. Many were carved by the late Gary Mulvane, while others are made of ceramic and other materials.
Virginia pointed to the sofa in the sun room.
"That was my great-great-grandmother's throw. I have quite a few old things. This (coffee table) used to be an ice chest," she said.
The table is set with Royal Dalton china she brought back from England.
"I spent a year there teaching. I had second and third grade. Here in the States, I always taught first. I started at Clinton," she said.
In the front bedroom, Virginia has hung family portraits on the walls, and her great-great-grandmother's wedding gown is displayed on a dress form. A coverlet from Wales is draped across the foot of the bed.