Historic Selma Pilgrimage tour guide Kaye Knight discusses the history and architecture of Weaver Castle, located on Lauderdale Street, to visitor Shirley Betros Friday during an afternoon tour. The house, owned by Gary and Chris Stepflug, is currently undergoing renovations. -- Desiree Taylor

Beautiful weather welcomes Pilgrimage

Published 1:21am Saturday, March 17, 2012

“It’s been a constant flow, mainly people wanting to see what it looked like inside,” said Pilgrimage tour guide Patricia Tharp as she pointed to a window pane inside the whimsical estate known as Weaver Castle.

Hundreds hailing from Wisconsin, Greenville, Birmingham, Missouri, Iowa, Foley and Georgia stopped by the Medieval-like palace Friday afternoon to explore the home still undergoing renovations.

Owned by Wisconsin ranchers Gary and Chris Stepflug, the 1868 Gothic Revival structure with Romanesque influences, was designed by architect Richard M. Upjohn, who designed Selma’s St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, and built by Confederate Army Lt. William Weaver.

House guide Gordon Welch said he enjoys talking about the house’s history to visitors.

“Having been in Selma as long as I have, I enjoy history,” Welch said. “I enjoy meeting people and am delighted to help in the Pilgrimage and help promote Selma.”

Both veterans and newcomers to Pilgrimage enjoyed the intricate architecture and “castle like” features of the home.

“I’ve always been interested in the house,” said Pilgrimage regular, Peggy Verhoff. “I was just interested in seeing the inside. We’re trying to support our local economy and the event.”

Selma native Brenda Maske, who has volunteered with the Pilgrimage in the 1980s and 1990s, came to view the home with Verhoff. Maske said her main reason for coming to this year’s Pilgrimage was to see the houses being showcased in Orrville.

For Lois Morris, who drove down to Selma from Mason City, Iowa with her friend Ramona Hauan, this is her very first Pilgrimage.

“I love it,” Morris said. “I love to look at old houses.”

Kaye Knight, who moved to Selma as a child in 1948, has participated in Pilgrimage for as long as she can remember.

“I’ve done this for years — I love history,” Knight said. “It’s something you can do for the community — it’s something positive, and a great way to bring lots of people to Selma.”

The morning tour continues today in Cahawba, Orrville and Molette’s Bend at 9 a.m., with a tour of St. Luke’s Church at Cahawba beginning at 8:30 a.m. Afternoon tours will continue today from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Also on tour: Sturdivant Hall Museum, Kenan’s Mill (1 p.m. to 5 p.m.), Antique Symposium, Artisans Fair at Heritage Village, ArtsRevive Juried Art Show, Selma Art Guild Art Show (11 a.m. to 5 p.m.) and Plein Air Painters Sale.

For more information call 412-8550.


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