Tour to showcase historic Marietta homes

Photo by Michele Newbanks The Cisler Home at 340 N. Seventh St. will be part of the second annual Historic Marietta Tour of Homes.

MARIETTA – For the next two weekends, visitors will be able to step back in time during the second annual Historic Marietta Tour of Homes.

As part of The Castle’s fundraiser, 10 local homes will open their doors as part of a self-guided tour around historic downtown. Five homes will be open on Saturday, while a different five homes will be open on Sunday.

The two-day program design is intentional to help promote tourism in the area. The tour is modeled after the Natchez Pilgrimage Tour.

“That’s why we schedule the event over two days, so out-of-town guests will hopefully book a hotel room and enjoy our restaurants,” said Harley Noland, Castle board president. “We want our event to benefit the entire city.”

Noland said he also hopes the recent release of “The Pioneers: The Heroic Story of the Settlers Who Brought the American Ideal West” will help boost tourism in the area.

This New York Times best-seller, written by Pulitzer Prize-winning author David McCullough, is about the settling of the Northwest Territory. It is mainly focused on the Marietta area and is based on diaries and correspondence from local historical figures.

Although the $8,000 in profits from last year’s tour went to the operating budget to help replace The Castle’s roof, profits from this year will help Washington County school children visit the museum.

Noland explained the museum receives a lot of students from Wood County, but not many from Washington County because of the cost of bus rental.

“We’re going to have $200 per bus as an incentive,” he said. “We want to preserve the building, but we also want to educate the community.”

Noland says the homes on the tour are selected with variety in mind so there is something of interest for everyone.

“We picked houses with different styles and different decors so there’s something for everyone,” he explained, noting some locations aren’t of historical significance, but instead have unusual collections.

Two of the collections featured will be of cast iron banks at the Condo on the River and early antiques at the Wright Home.

Only the first floor of each home will be open to the public to preserve the homeowner’s privacy, Noland said.

Saturday’s homes will include the Governor Meigs Home at 326 Front St., the Garrison Home at 427 Fifth St., the Governor White Home at 322 Fifth St., the Wright Home at 306 Fifth St. and the Harper Home at 224 Franklin St. The Castle Historic House Museum will also be open on Saturday.

Open on Sunday will be the law office of Jennifer Garrison at 323 Third St., the Radabaugh Home at 509 Tupper St., the Condo on the River at 402 Hart St., the Levi Barber Home at 401 Fort St. and the Cisler Home at 340 N. Seventh St.

The Levi Barber Home on Fort Street is unusual in that Ed Engle is the sixth generation to own the structure.

“It’s never been sold since 1929 when it was built,” he added.

A plaque in front of the home notes the home was built for Levi Barber by Col. Joseph Barker. Barber was a colonel in the War of 1812 and spent two terms in the U.S. Congress in 1817 and 1821. The home was listed on the National Historic Register in 1974.

“Barber was a key figure in developing Monroe County,” Engle explained.

The house was finished in 1929, but Barber and his wife didn’t have long to enjoy it. His wife, Elizabeth, died in 1831 and Barber followed shortly thereafter in 1833.

Noland pointed out some of the structure’s details, including the curving staircase and intricate moulding. Barker was known for his brick bonding and in particular for his curving stairways. The same style of curving stairway could be found in the original Blennerhassett Mansion, which Barker also built.

“The Federal architecture is finely detailed instead of having the rounded details of Victorian style,” he said.

Visitors can tour just one home or all five, with tours held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. Tickets are available for $20 for one day or $35 for both and can be purchased online at mariettacastle.org or at The Castle.

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