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St. C. Rotary to hold Christmas home tour

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Homeowners in the city and in nearby Bannock have filled their houses with Christmas cheer and are opening their doors to a tour of homes put on by the Rotary Club of St. Clairsville from 1-6 p.m. Saturday.

“This is the second year for the Rotary Christmas Tour of Homes. We hope it continues to be an annual fundraiser for the Rotary Club,” John Sambuco, tour organizer and former Rotary president, said.

Sambuco said the one-day tour will feature an impressive list of stops.

“We’re pretty proud of them. We really like them,” he said. “Last year we had five homes. This year we have five homes.”

The tour will also include carolers at the Great Western School House, which Sambuco said will be like a visit to the past.

“It’s going to be done in period, the turn of the century, around 1900 when it was a one-room schoolhouse and they’ll be dressed in costume,” he said.

The tour of homes will also serve as a fundraiser.

“The reason people are getting on board is Rotary has a history of helping the local community and annually passing out checks to the people who benefit from our fundraisers. It’s a pretty good event,” he said, adding that the club has been involved in projects such as the Capstone Soccer Complex, the Belmont County Fair, and the park in St. Clairsville.

“About 99 percent of the money we raise here locally stays locally,” he said.

The organization regularly funds community projects and college scholarships.

“It’s a good fundraiser, and actually it’s kind of fun. You have maybe 100 to 200 people coming through your house in a five-hour period,” he noted of the hosts.

Kelly’s Suite II White House Gallery will also be decorated for the event.

“Kelly Cappelletti had her home on it last year, so she is a two-year event person, which is really awesome … ,” Sambuco said of the business’ owner. “Last year the five homes on it were completely different than this year’s seven, so every year there will be different homes on it.”

Afterward, tour-goers will enjoy an after-party at Belmont Hills Country Club.

Rotarians will be volunteering to control traffic during the event. Care Funeral Services and Crematorium is donating two vans to help control traffic on U.S. 40 and Ohio 9. Christ the King Lutheran Church has donated parking space, and Dr. Sarah Lancione has donated parking space at her office.

Tour stops include:

∫ The J. Carl Lehman home at 70065 Main St., Bannock, built in 1900. The Lehman family acquired the house in 1953, and it has undergone extensive exterior repair and renovation.

“I always do a lot of decorating and I have for years, even when I was a kid and this was my parents’ home. We always decorated a lot. Once I took over, I added to it. … It’s a Victorian style, and the decorating inside is that way also,” Lehman said. “I am a member of the Rotary Club, and I attended the Tour of Homes last year.”

∫ Ann Verardi invites guests to The White House at 106 Forest Lawn Avenue in St. Clairsville. The house dates from the 1950s and has undergone additions and renovations since.

∫ The Ron Presutti and Dana Applegate house at 48185 National Road dates from 1866. A third-story ballroom was lost to a tornado that passed through the city in 1877, and the room was replaced by a roof. Due to the high ceilings and breeze that blows through the house, it does not require air conditioning.

Rotarians will direct parking at this home, and parking will also be available at the office of Dr. Sarah Lancione.

∫ The 1920s Colonial-style home of John and Michelle Holler at 210 S. Marietta St. has housed four families. The exterior decorations are in the style of Colonial Williamsburg. Parking will be available at Christ the King Lutheran Church as well as at the home.

∫ The Richard and Debbie Myser home at 107 Jessop Drive was built in 1969 and features multiple Christmas trees.

∫ Kelly’s White House Gallery at 235 W. Main St. was the historical site of an inn and tavern in 1803. The current structure was built in 1900. Kelly and Bill Cappelletti have remodeled the house since acquiring it in 2016.

∫ The Great Western School was built in 1870 with bricks made from clay obtained at a nearby pond. It was named Great Western after the historic steam ship. It served as a schoolhouse for 82 years for as many as 70 students at a time. The school closed in 1952 due to declining enrollment and consolidation.

The building was restored by the National Questers in 1976. It has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1986 the building was featured in a historical documentary. It has become a site for homecoming reunions for former students and their families.

Tourists will find wooden desks, recitation benches, kerosene lamps, a pot belly stove and reproductions of period reading and spelling primers. There are functional outhouses, and the bell in the tower is rung to welcome students.

There is a cost for the tour and for the wrap-up party.

“Each person must have their own ticket, and it is limited to 500 tickets sold,” Sambuco said.

Tickets are available Porterfield’s Drive-Thru, the St. Clairsville Area Chamber of Commerce office, Kelly’s Whitehouse Black Market, and Harvey Goodman Realty Office.

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