Pilgrimage tour three weeks away

Published 4:21 am Sunday, February 28, 2010

From Staff Reports

SELMA — Get ready. A hundred years of architectural styles are planned for display during the 35th Historic Pilgrimage here.

Nine houses will mark the event when Pilgrimage, sponsored by the Selma-Dallas County Historic Preservation Society, begins 9 a.m. Friday, March 19.

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Those on tour include:

Ashford: Twenty-nine Corinthian columns and Ionic capitals give this 1903 home a palatial appearance. Look for interior columns and lots of leaded glass inside as well as the Wedgewood Room, Oriental Room and unique tapestries.

Bjelke Cottage: A cozy 1920’s English Tudor that the owners call “Thomas Kincade Meets Fairhope,” this house is even more charming with its smilax-covered windows and gardens tended by its landscape architect owner and his wife. A plantation desk saved from an old Selma warehouse makes a unique addition to the parlor.

Churchview: Built by one brick manufacturer and now owned by another, this 1893 brick Victorian has lots of detail, from urn-shaped pillars on the porch to an original stained-glass window over the staircase and beaded woodwork. The owners have outstanding art collections, and a turret rescued from a house that was torn down makes a magical playhouse on the lawn.

Kenan Home: Built in 1826, this two-story Greek Revival is the oldest house on Pilgrimage and one of the oldest in the county. Be sure and visit the parlor where a large area of its heart pine floor is charred from an attempt by Union troops to burn it during the Civil War.

Bridge Tender’s House: New to Pilgrimage, this Victorian cottage once housed the bridge tender who opened the swing-span bridge across the Alabama River. Today, it’s a bed-and-breakfast and sits in the shadow of the 1940 Edmund Pettus Bridge.

Kelso Cottage: A former Selma banker built this 1866 raised Victorian cottage with Italianate style. Tall, floor-length French windows on either side of the front entry retain their hand-blown glass. The owner has collections from all over the world, including colorful paperweights.

Nettie’s Cottage: A 1920’s Craftsman’s bungalow, this home is also new to Pilgrimage and sits on the property once owned by the prominent Parrish family that include Albert G. Parrish for whom the Hotel Albert and Parrish High School were named, and well-known Tiffany artist Clara Weaver Parrish.

Pitts-Ellwanger-Weerts (PEW) House: Another newcomer to Pilgrimage, this early 1900’s home has been beautifully restored and is extraordinarily handsome with original stained glass and leaded glass, and collections of religious icons and folk art. It served as a residence and house church in the mid-20th Century when it was owned by Walter Ellwanger, president of Alabama Lutheran College, now Concordia. An hospitable family, the Ellwangers cared for Rosa Young, founder of Alabama Lutheran, while she recovered from an illness, and housed and fed civil rights martyr Jonathan Daniels here.

Brownstone Manor: This elaborate late 19th Century sandstone with Corinthian columns will host the first Pilgrimage paranormal investigations on March 18 and 19. It is considered one of only a few mirrored houses in the Southeast and is built for its night views and entertaining. Guests will have the unique opportunity to use real ghost hunting equipment and experience for themselves the thrill of paranormal investigating with the Black Belt Paranormal Research Team.

One- and two-day packages are available during the event at Pilgrimage Headquarters, the Vaughan-Smitherman Museum at the corner of Alabama Avenue and Union Street. Individual tickets are at each site.

Ticket prices vary from $5 for museums to $10 for a single-house or cemetery tour, to $30 for a one-day package and $45 for the two-day package.

On Friday and Saturday, tours begin at 9 a.m. and end at 5 p.m. On Sunday, tours begin at 1 p.m. and end at 5 p.m.

For more information, call 334-412-8550, 1-800-45-SELMA or visit the Web site at www.Pilgrimage.SelmaAlabama.com.