If you think pilgrimage homes all have to be enormous mansions with intricate detailing and filled with priceless antiques, then you haven’t been on a tour of homes in Aberdeen.
“What we think makes our pilgrimage unique is we show some houses in the process of being restored,” said Mary-Ellen Krummrich, one of the tour organizers. “What we want people to see is we have some old places here that need to be restored and they’re something that middle-class people can do over time.”
The 34th Southern Heritage Pilgrimage is April 23-26 in downtown Aberdeen. Eleven homes will be open to the public at various times during the long weekend and activities, such as teas, luncheons, a play, a 5K run, cemetery tours, a pancake breakfast and a Civil War re-enactment, are also scheduled. Some events come with a price; other are free.
“There are antebellum mansions and cottages, Victorian homes and a 1939 Classical Revival-style home built by a member of the Sykes family,” Krummrich said. “Actually, three homes on the tour were built by the Sykes family.”
Empire, Federal pieces
One of the homes on the tour is Talton Place, built around 1855, on North Hickory Street. The home is owned by Ron Locke, an antiques dealer and appraiser who hails from Columbus.
“I came into this house last year and was so taken with the millwork,” he said. Locke bought the home in June and hired a four-man work crew to do the restoration.
“These men had worked on other projects with me,” he said. “They were painters, carpenters – they did the work in two months.”
Locke, as expected, filled the home with antiques he’s come across in his line of work and pieces that have been in his family for years.
“I’m very much an Empire person,” he said. “I have very few things that are Victorian. I love early pieces from the 1820s and 1830s. I love Federal pieces.”
He has some items by Charles Boule, which are not from the period of the house.
“They’re more of what we call big-city antiques,” he said. “Brass inlaid with red tortoiseshell, probably from between 1870 and 1880.”
Locke also has a clock from the estate of Diana Vreeland, the former editor of Vogue magazine, and an extensive collection of cloisonné.
“The oldest piece in the house is probably a butler’s service from the late 1700s,” Locke said.
Another homeowner on the tour, Billy Brasfield, has filled his 1899-era home with an eclectic collection of furnishings. Mississippi Magazine featured the home, Steamboat, in the Spring 2008 issue and noted its “shabby chic” charm.
“These are some beautiful and interesting old houses on the tour,” Krummrich said, “but there are also some in the process of becoming beautiful and interesting.”
For a complete schedule of events, price guide or pilgrimage brochure, contact The Aberdeen Visitors’ Bureau, P.O. Box 288, Aberdeen, MS 39730, or call (800) 634-3538 or (662) 369-9440; write firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.aberdeenms.org
Ginna Parsons/Daily Journal