Homes for the Holiday

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Noblesville Preservation Alliance expands Twelve Houses of Christmas historic neighborhood driving tour

 The Noblesville Preservation Alliance is looking to literally brighten the holiday season with the organization’s Twelve Houses of Christmas program. In its second year, NPA is quickly creating a new family tradition – a holiday historic neighborhood driving tour.

“We used to drive around as a family growing up touring the lights. We spent an hour or two doing it,” Tim Parker said.

Tim and his wife, Lauren, moved to Noblesville in 2009. The two found and fell in love with a home in the Second Ward Historic District, but it had one problem that was rectified two years ago – no outside electrical outlet.

“I wanted it purely for Christmas lights. There’s something so magical about it. It brings me back to my childhood,” Lauren said. “My parents are huge Christmas people. Their house is full of flashing lights timed to music.”

Lauren said her theme was a “happy medium.”

“It’s a hybrid mix of the Griswolds and classic,” she said.

Lauren enjoys the fall home tour and believes it and the driving tour are an opportunity to engage the community.

“NPA does a really great job of encouraging and protecting a sense of community. This adds to that charm,” she said. “We loved that Norman Rockwell feel. It’s why we moved here.”

The home tour will focus on the 12 historic districts in Noblesville. Within each district, NPA has recruited one showcase home that will be placed on the tour map, including the Parkers’ residence.

“It’s been really fun to participate. We enjoy it just as much if not more than anybody else will,” Lauren said. “Our layout is not great for indoor tours so it’s fun to still be able to participate.”

NPA Board Member Emily Compton said the showcase homeowner encourages their neighbors to join the fun and ultimately the neighborhood will decorate the exterior of their homes for the tour.

“It brings people together around an event. It’s building within neighborhoods,” Compton said. “We’re hoping that will increase as we continue to do this event. People get to know their neighbors.”

The Parkers and Compton each commented on how the number of decorated homes has increased this winter.

“On South 10th (Street) more people have decorations than usual,” Compton said.

“I see more people getting involved,” Tim said.

The tour expanded this year to include featured businesses. Compton said most were on 10th and Conner streets.

“They’re historic homes that are now businesses,” she said.

While the event provides an additional family-friendly holiday event, it is also educational.

“We’re educating the people to the historic structures in the area and the districts and dates in which they were established,” said Georgia Pate, 2012’s event chair. “We want to bring to their attention the history.”

The driving tour continues nightly from 6 to 9 p.m. through Dec. 31. The showcase home has a sign in the front yard depicting one of the 12 days of Christmas (partridge in a pear tree, two turtle doves, etc.) which have been painted by Nickel Plate artists. Each neighborhood will be voted on by the people who tour with each vote costing $1. The votes can be cast online at www.noblesvillepreservation.com. Hand drawn souvenir maps also will be available for $1.

Compton said all proceeds will benefit the continued preservation of Noblesville’s historic resources and districts through projects such as the Homeowner Façade Grant program. The facade grants provide financial assistance to residential properties, 50 years or older, for exterior restoration work. To date, NPA has awarded $11,000 in grant funding. Grants are distributed as matching funds, with NPA contributing 50 percent of the total project cost (up to $1,000).

“It’s modeled after the city’s downtown façade grant, we just don’t have as much money,” Compton said, adding this year NPA created a smaller seed grant in the amount of $500 which do not require a match. “It’s a program for someone who really needs help getting a handle on a project. In its first year we had three grants. It’s popular and seems to have made an impact.”

Map Key

1 – Pioneer Homestead, 123 S. Eighth St.

2 – Johnstown, 675 S. Eighth St.

3 – Plum Prairie, 1640 S. Ninth St.

4 – Central Square, 810 Conner St.

5 – Gilded Age, 1179 Conner St.

6 – New Frontier, 1688 Conner St.

7 – Midland, 1807 Conner St.

8 – Old Second Ward, 1374 Maple Ave.

9 – Old First Ward, 1225 Harrison St.

10 – Lincoln Park, 1552 Central Ave.

11 – Broadview Manor, 1125 N. 12th St.

12 – Gentleman Farmers, 894 N. 10th St.

Featured businesses:

A – Parker & Maguire Law Firm, 1058 S. 10th St.

B – Center Stage Vintage Guitars, 988 S. 10th St.

C – The Birdie Gallery, 195 S. Fifth St.

D – Santa House, Courthouse Square

E – Adriene’s Floral and Gifts, 1249 Conner St.

F – Box, Pack, Ship, 1592 Conner St.

G – Animal Arts, 998 N. 10th St.

H – Yankee Clipper Barber Shop, 1330 N. 10th St.

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