Lowell residents open homes for holiday tour

Photo by Doug Loyer Tonia Lang, of Marietta, admires a Christmas tree at Gary Pitt’s house on the Lowell Weihnachten Tour on Sunday.

LOWELL — On Sunday, five homeowners in Lowell opened up their houses — each of which were over 100 years old — for the first Weihnachten Tour of Homes.

All of the ticket sales from the event will benefit the Lowell Community Swimming Pool.

The name “Weihnachten” is German for Christmas. Lowell actually started as a German farming community and has deep German roots.

“This tour is certainly something different for Lowell, It’s a lot of work, but it’s fun” said Lowell Councilman Gary Pitt, whose house was one of the stops on the tour.

Pitt said every penny from Sunday’s ticket sale will go towards the Lowell swimming pool.

Photo by Doug Loyer A view down the staircase shows more tour goers arriving.

The houses on the Lowell tour included Gary Pitt, 402 Fifth St.; Steve and Judy Weber, 233 Third St.; Clarence and Judy Skinner, 101 Franklin St.; Rick and Nancy Schultheis, 222 Third St.; and Chris and Sharon Bagley, 156 State St., Buell Island.

Pitt’s home was constructed in 1902 and for Sunday’s event was decorated with several Christmas trees and a Santa collection. Tonia Lang, of Marietta, said Pitt’s house was her first stop.

“I didn’t realize that this benefits the pool. I think that’s a great idea,” she said.

Lowell Mayor Steve Weber and his wife Judy also had their home on the tour.

“I think the tour is going well,” he said. “There have been a lot of people. Everyone is having fun and we’re raising money for the swimming pool.”

Photo by Doug Loyer Lowell Mayor Steve Weber welcomes tour goers to the attic which serves as his man-cave.

Weber said it costs a lot each year to get the pool open with the chemicals, concession stand, food and everything. It can get costly. Sunday’s Weihnachten Tour of Homes will greatly benefit the pool, he said.

“I love this. We decorate the same every year,” said Judy Weber. “It’s easy to open up the house and have everyone stop by and it helps get money for the pool. We’re pleased with the turnout.”

While exiting the Weber home, Kathy Huck, of Beverly, and her mother-in-law, Peggy Huck of Lowell, said the tour was awesome, the response overwhelming and more than what they expected.

Nancy and Rick Schultheis was happy to welcome people to their 115-year-old home.

“It’s a lot of work, but it’s for our community pool and they struggle with funds for it. This will benefit them,” said Nancy. “Our kids like to go to the pool and we enjoy it too. We’re glad to help.”

Photo by Doug Loyer Visitors admire the Christmas decorations in the Skinner house on the tour.

“The tour is fabulous,” said Ellie LaFollett, of Marietta, after visiting the Schultheis house. “I had no idea these houses were the way they are. They’re beautiful.”

LaFollett said supporting the Lowell pool was great, since it sees a lot of use each summer

The Skinner House on the tour was constructed in the late 1800s and the owners have renovated the home, expanded the kitchen and enhanced the ceiling.

“I wasn’t expecting this many people today,” said Judy Skinner. “Everyone seems to be enjoying it. The weather has been beautiful. This great turnout is really going to help the pool.”

On Buell Island, Chris and Sharon Bagley opened up their house for the tour as well. Chris greeted everyone on their porch dressed as Santa.

Photo by Doug Loyer Sharon Bagley sits in her living room in the Bagley home on Buell Island at Lowell.

“I think the tour has been a tremendous success,” said Chris. “This was a good idea and it has turned out to be a perfect day for it.”

Sharon was an interior designer for 25 years before moving to the Lowell area and after purchasing their home, they have been restoring it for almost three years.

“It’s been fun, I’ve enjoyed it,” said Sharon. “Being new to the area, I wasn’t sure how this tour would turn out, but the response has been overwhelming.”