Monday, December 06, 2010

Marietta Tour of Homes; aka Marietta Pilgrimage



Sunday we went on the Marietta Christmas Tour of Homes; Marietta’s Tour of Homes; aka, Marietta Pilgrimage.

The event is held one weekend a year. Five to six home owners volunteer to put their houses up for public scrutiny for complete strangers to tromp through their house pawing their prize possessions and possibly break something of monetarily or sentimental value.

Ha ha! Seriously folks! It is a time of the year the Cobb County Landmarks Association to present five or six homes for the public to view. The homes for view usually have a historical or claim to fame importance. All homes are decorated in perfect detail.

This year there were six homes. One on Kennesaw Avenue, two on Holland Street, two on Maple Avenue, and one on Cleburne Avenue.

Each room entered, that isn’t roped off there will be a docent explaining and pointing out details of certain architectural eccentricities if such exist; heirlooms; hobbies; collections; art; antiques; and any stories behind each item that is not a secret.

We have been going for about ten years.

The first house on the tour this time was The Archibald Howell House which was built about 1843. In 1864 the house was used by General H.M. Judah, Sherman’s adjutant who oversaw the occupation of Yankee forces and distribution of food for destitute Marietta citizens.

Later the house was purchased by Moultrie M. Sessions. My relative L.N. Trammell’s daughter Alice Trammell (b1865)married Walter Sessions in Marietta. I don’t know if there is any relation or not to the Moultrie Sessions.

Fast forward time to about 1958: In 1957 or 58 the Howell’s House former slave house, behind the big house, was a hangout for owner Frank Owenby’s son Paul. I spent many after school hours there. We all belonged to the underground club The Ratskats. For my first year, as a pledge, was spent there; it was sort of like a make-believe fraternity house.

The slave house/Rakskat Clubhouse is in one of the video views taken from the second floor on the tour and again on the back porch steps.

The Owenby House is on the corner of Kennesaw Avenue and Holland Street. The next two houses were on Holland Street.

The next house on the tour was The Reese-Romijn-Powell House, which had the style of a shotgun house. A shotgun house is that one could stand in the front door and shoot a shotgun down the wide hall and the buckshot would go out the backdoor before the traveling buckshot widened its swath.

A good friend of mine in high school was Pam Reese. She lived with her family there. It just occurred to me that Pam’s father was from Blairsville, Georgia. So was Frank Owenby. They lived so close, I wonder if they were aware of each other’s existence.

By the way, this house is featured in the January 2011 edition of BETTER HOMES & GARDENS: REMODEL MAGAZINE.

Another house of special interest to me was the Benson-Hardin-Mills House around the corner on Maple Avenue. Roy Hardin for many years was the head of the household. Roy was a Marietta Policeman. He and my father worked together. And Roy’s son Danny was in high school with me.

Speaking of high school, the last house on the tour was the Gordon-Padgett-Owens House. I am pretty sure the first owner was Tom Gordon, who was head of distribution of the Atlanta Constitution in Marietta. And Tom’s son Warren was also a high school classmate. But all these years I thought the Gordons lived the next house over and another class mate, Heidi Hambrick lived in the house on the tour.

That is what I get for thinking.

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