Aberdeen pilgrimage prepares to start

By Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal

One of the city’s grand mansions will be open for tours again this year at the 36th Aberdeen Southern Heritage Pilgrimage.
The Old Homestead, at the corner of Long and Commerce streets, is one of 11 homes that will be on display for two weekends: April 29-May 1 and May 6-8. The homes will be open different hours and different days of the two weekends.
“Last year, a tornado came during the pilgrimage weekend and sat down right outside Aberdeen,” said Mary-Ellen Krummrich, a spokesperson for the event.
“This year, we decided to spread it over two weekends in case there’s bad weather one weekend.”
Ticket prices range from $20 for a three-home tour to $44 to tour all 11 homes. Tickets can be used either or both weekends and are available at Aberdeen Antiques, Bird’s Nest and Victoriana Rose.
In addition to the home tours, the pilgrimage weekends will feature a pancake breakfast, the comedy “Life in a Small Southern Town” at the Elkin Theater, a barbecue, a quilt show, a gospel concert, demonstrations of pioneer life and crafts, an old cemetery tour and storytelling.
For more information, call (800) 634-3538 or (662) 369-9440 or visit www.aberdeenpilgrimage.com.

Lincoln’s table
Linda and Caius Dodd bought The Old Homestead in 2006 from Joseph Franklin Hall “Boonie” Evans, a descendant of the Sykes family.
“Seven generations of the Sykes family lived here,” said Linda Dodd. “We are the first family outside of them to live here.”
The home is an interesting example of architecture that is Greek Revival in character with elements borrowed from the Gothic and Italianate styles. It has identical front and side entrances with original double doors and clear glass sidelights framed by four large square columns.
All the interior and exterior doors are original to the home, as are the floors, the brick chimneys and the eight fireplaces.
Before Dodd and her husband moved to Aberdeen, she operated an antiques store in Knoxville, Tenn., and she has filled the 5,200-square-foot home with Victorian period pieces.
“I knew basically nothing about antiques when I opened my shop,” she said. “But I learned, and it grew from three rooms to 10,000 square feet.”
Dodd now owns and operates Aberdeen Antiques on the corner of Commerce and Maple streets.
Many pieces in The Old Homestead are from Dodd’s antique shops, but a few pieces are original to the home, like the secretary in the parlor.
“It was brought here by covered wagon from Virginia,” she said. “It has been in this house since it was built in 1852.”
One interesting piece in the house is a small work table, or sewing table, that was once in the home of President Abraham Lincoln and his wife, Mary.
“I have all the documentation showing it was Mary Lincoln’s work table,” Dodd said. “There’s even a mark on the top that’s said to be from where she laid a hot iron down on top of it.”
Wall-to-wall antiques
All the rooms in the home – with the exception of the computer room – are brimming with period antiques.
The music room is filled with five music boxes, including a working Regina upright self-changing music box that holds 27-inch discs.
“They only made this type of music box for 20 to 22 years in the late 1880s,” Dodd said. “When the Victrola came out, they quit making them.”
Dodd’s deep pink bedroom is flush with antique pieces.
“Someone asked me to describe my bedroom once and I said, ‘It has a four-piece matching bedroom set – a half-tester bed with a washstand, half-commode and dresser – two tables, a settee, two more dressers, a wardrobe, four chairs, two marble-top table, and I still have room to dance.’”
The parlor features a grand piano, the French table in the dining room seats 10 and on the landing of the circular hand-carved front stairway is a mirror that measures 7 feet wide and more than 10 feet tall.
“You should have seen us trying to get that piece up the stairs and anchored to the wall,” Dodd said. “But we did it.”
The Old Homestead was on the tour in 2007, 2008 and 2009, but it wasn’t open last year. Dodd is proud to show it off once again.
“I feel like we who own this part of history need to share it,” she said.

36th Aberdeen Southern Heritage Pilgrimage
- When: April 29-May 1 and May 6-May 8. The 11 featured homes are open different hours and different days.
- Tickets: 3 homes $20; 4 homes $24; 5 homes $27; 6 homes $34; 7 homes $38; 8 homes $40; 9 homes $42; 11 homes $44. Tickets available at Aberdeen Antiques, Bird’s Nest and Victoriana Rose.
- For more info: Call (800) 634-3538 or (662) 369-9440 or visit www.aberdeenpilgrimage.com