Historic holiday homes in Tupelo

By Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Two historic downtown neighborhoods in Tupelo will join forces this season for a Holiday Home Tour.
From 5 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 5, and 2 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 6, owners of 11 homes both north and south of Main Street will open their doors to guests.
Tickets are $5 and available at Jody’s, Midnite Pottery and The Main Attraction. Tickets will also be available the day of the tours where refreshments are being served: the homes of Josh and Amanda Westmoreland at 631 Jefferson and Ceil Carver at 519 Magazine.
“We just wanted people to see what living downtown can be like,” said Jane Carruth, one of the organizers and a resident of Mill Village. “It can be good. And having the two neighborhoods participate is about joining neighbors together. We need to start joining forces together, to come together in the old downtown historic area as neighbors.”
Carruth noted that while Mill Village has recently undergone a facelift, with people moving into the area and fixing up old homes, the historic downtown neighborhood is more established.
“We wanted people to see what can be done and what is being done,” she said. “They’re further along in being renovated. The homes in Mill Village are a work in progress.”
Last Christmas, a first-time tour of homes in Mill Village drew more than 350 visitors.
“People were very surprised and very pleased,” she said. “We’ve had a lot of homes sell because of it. People realize you can live down here. I want people to know the downtown area is worth saving.”

Staubs’ home on tour
One of the five homes on the north side of Main Street that will be on tour belongs to Gus and Martha Ann Staub. Gus Staub, a retired architect, has been in the two-story Georgian Colonial Revival home more than 25 years.
“Last year, Mill Town did their tour and we belong to the same neighborhood association,” he said. “At a meeting, they gave the call and we volunteered. We thought it would be a fun thing to do. We have a good mix of houses in this area, a good mix of interiors.”
Martha Ann Staub has chosen traditional holiday colors of red, green, gold and silver for this year’s Christmas palette. Her home is very modern on the interior, with sparsely furnished rooms and clean lines.
“One year we did black and white, one year it was orange,” she said. “This year, we’re doing bears and elves because we have grandkids, and grandkids love bears and elves.”
The retired teacher said for the third year, she’ll be using candy-cane garland on the staircase, another nod to the grandchildren.
“All my decorations would not come to pass without the magic of my dear, dear friend Carolyn Pigg of Okolona,” she said. “She comes over for a day or two and we decorate. It’s become a part of our holiday.”
Annelee Elves adorn the mantel in the living room and a table in the foyer. Bearington Bears perch atop a TV cabinet. And today, a live Christmas tree will be put up and covered in Mark Roberts’ fairies.
“Then right before Christmas, before all the children come, I’ll put up a teddy bear tree and a Santa Claus tree. In the sunroom, I’ll put up an animal-themed tree,” Martha Ann Staub said. “It’s very kid-friendly. No lights or anything breakable. The grandkids undecorate the tree and then they decorate it back again. It’s great fun for them.”

Christmas Spirit
What: Historic Downtown Neighborhoods Holiday Home Tour
When: Dec. 5 from 5 to 8 p.m. and Dec. 6 from 2 to 4 p.m.
Cost: $5 per ticket, available at Jody’s, Midnite Pottery and The Main Attraction. Tickets will also be available the day of the tours where refreshments are being served: the homes of Josh and Amanda Westmoreland at 631 Jefferson (north side) and Ceil Carver at 519 Magazine (south side).
For more info: (662) 690-9707

The Homes
Downtown
• 120 Robins
• 419 Robins
• 640 Jefferson
• 654 Jefferson
• 641 Allen
Mill Village
• 511 Magazine
• 615 S. Church
• 616 S. Church
• 638 S. Church
• 653 S. Church
• 708 S. Church