Annual Pilgrimage sees hundreds of guests tour homesPublished 9:48pm Friday, March 15, 2013
Girls in antebellum dresses carrying ruffled parasols greeted Selma residents and visitors Friday as some of Selma’s most historic homes opened their doors for Pilgrimage. The annual event kicked off with clear skies and warm weather. Pilgrimage chairman Jewell Williamson said she couldn’t have been more satisfied with how the day went.
“The crowd has been wonderful,” Williamson said. “We are so thankful for the people who have come out. Everybody that we have talked to said they’re really, really enjoying themselves.”
Tours were offered throughout the day, giving an in-depth look in to Selma’s history.
Stephen and Carol Brooks, stewards of the Baker-Brooks House on Dallas Avenue, welcomed guests as they walked through the Italian-style home built in the late 1800s.
“We have one of the neatest collections of Lincustra wall covering,” Brooks said while giving a tour, motioning to the ornate staircase wall. “Lincrusta is the product of cotton seed oil and horse hair.”
Brooks explained that during the Civil War, wounded Confederate soldiers were nursed in the home before going to the Vaughan-Smitherman Hospital. If you look closely beneath the carpet, Brooks said stains of soldiers’ blood can still be seen.
On Broad Street, the Temple Mishkan Israel opened its large wooden doors for visitors to view the temple’s rich history. Outside, junior hostesses Jordan Wiltsie and Alicia Deavers waved to visitors and welcomed them to the old temple.
“We’ve had a lot of fun out here today — the weather has been great,” said Wiltsie, who donned a blue satin dress.
Other homes on tour included the Adler Building, the Harmony Club and Keith Law Office among others. Artists could also be seen painting in “plein air” outside historic homes. Their works will be sold today from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Selma Art Guild.
Williamson encouraged residents and visitors to take advantage of Pilgrimage and explore all it has to offer.
“One thing that has to grow is the downtown tour,” Williamson said. “A lot of people are not taking advantage of the carriage — you don’t have to pay to ride the horse drawn carriage.”
Also, Williamson said she expects the Pilgrimage crowds to grow Saturday, as more people are off work.
“We’re just looking for a crowd of people who will just be friendly,” Williamson said. “So far everybody has really enjoyed what they’ve seen.”