About every other year, the Rogersville Heritage Association organizes a Historic Homes Christmas Tour, during which participants are invited to visit some of the oldest houses while they are decked out with Christmas decorations.
Tickets are $20 each, and all proceeds benefit the RHA’s ongoing historic preservation efforts.
The tour is from 3-7 p.m. and starts at the 194-year-old Hale Springs Inn, where participants will be served cider and cookies and enjoy a performance by a Cherokee High School quartet.
RHA event organizer Renee Trent noted that each room of the inn has been sponsored by a local business.
“You can tour the inn as a starting point and see those rooms that have been decorated for Christmas by local businesses,” she said. “Each room will have an individual touch. You’ll also receive a self-guided tour guide, and between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m., you can visit the homes on the list in any order at your convenience.”
Aside from the inn, the only other non-residential stop on the tour is the Rogersville First United Methodist Church, where the choir will be performing Christmas music.
The Rogersville Christmas Parade starts at 4 p.m., and Trent said it is possible to attend both the parade and the tour.
“I would start at 3 p.m. with the inn and the Boyd House, which is just a few doors down from the inn on Main Street, and by the time you finished those stops, the parade would be starting,” she said. “The parade lasts about an hour, and then you’ll have seven more stops to make on your tour.”
Among the houses on this year’s tour are:
The Boyd Home
Frances G. Rogers, daughter of Rogersville founder Joseph Rogers, inherited the property now known as the Boyd Home at 324 W. Main St. in 1833. The home was partially constructed in 1852 by Joseph Brown Heiskell, who purchased additional property running from Main Street to Crockett Street.
During the Civil War, Heiskell moved to Memphis. Jack Taylor purchased the property in 1937 and moved his funeral home and undertaking business into the home. It served as Taylor Funeral home for many years. It has served as a private residence since the late 1970s and has been restored and updated throughout the years.
The Elder Home
This Folk Victorian was built in 1901 by Elkanah Spears, who built all the Victorian houses on Broadway Street, but this was the house where his family lived. The house retains its original floor plan, windows, doors, floors, hardware, kitchen cabinets, mantles, and inset china closets. The sidewalks are the original limestone slab sidewalks of historic Rogersville.
The Garland Home
The Henry Bell Stamps House on East Main Street was commissioned by Pauline Stamps and completed in 1956. The Stamps family owned and operated the Stamps Marble Quarry and the Stamps-Star Marble Quarry in Mooresburg. The house is constructed entirely of locally quarried strawberry marble.
Mrs. Stamps lived in the house the remainder of her life, and upon her death it became a public library. After construction of the new library, the house became a private home and then the first location of Rogersville Episcopal Church.
Hale Springs Inn
In 1824, John McKinney began construction on a massive, three-story, Federal style building that would house facilities for a true tavern bar, but also individual guest rooms on the different floors. The building also featured an impressive balcony over its door that would feature prominently later in its history. During the 19th century, the inn played host to many famous personages as they made their way into the thriving new state of Tennessee. Among them were United States Presidents Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk and Andrew Johnson.
The Hayes Home
The original date of the house’s construction is not clear. It was supposedly a cabin when it was purchased by George and Mary (Mollie) Rogers. They remodeled it into a two-story, square style farmhouse on West Main Street near the current location of Joseph Rogers Primary School. Dustin and Shea Hayes purchased the home and land in October 2017. They gave the structure a modern day farmhouse look while keeping the charm of the old building by using some of the wood from the original log cabin through the home.
The Holt Home
Although the house is not necessarily historic, visitors are sure to feel the Christmas spirit throughout the entire home when they visit. The residence, which is now owned by the Holt family, is only 35 years old, but the owner loves to decorate for Christmas. Expect to see a fully decorated home, including the bathrooms. Even the driveway lights will be decorated at 2129 E. Main St.
The Linkous Home
The tract upon which this house stands was part of the Joseph Rogers estate and included the land where Rogersville City School now stands. Matilda Nall Rogers, widow of Thomas A. Rogers, Joseph Rogers’ son, inherited the property from her husband. In 1850, Daniel C. Howery purchased the lot and built the Victorian clapboard house at the corner of Church Street and McKinney Avenue. Howery was the owner of a brick kiln which furnished bricks for many early Rogersville houses. In 1917, Robert T. and Lyde Kyle Webb purchased the house. Mr. Webb was stationmaster at the Rogersville Depot.
Rogersville First United Methodist Church
The church is located on Colonial Road, about three blocks from downtown.