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Pilgrimage houses open for tours

Like a fine bottle of wine, the houses on the Pilgrimage tour get better with age.

“Always, your bigger houses are what’s the draw when they see the picture and see the brochure,” said Candi Duncan, ticket chair. “Once they have some history on the cottages, they’re drawn to them because people realize that’s something that’s obtainable, that’s something that I could have.”

More than 250 people toured the four homes open for the Historic Selma Pilgrimage Friday, and Duncan expects at least 75 more ticket sales Saturday.

The tour has nine houses this year, doubling events of previous years. With double the locations, ticket sales have been constant.

“It was just busy all morning long, until 1 p.m., people were just steady buying their tickets,” Duncan said.

Ted Henry, owner of Churchview, estimated more than 185 people toured his home Friday.

“I spent all afternoon on the front porch,” Henry said.

The last time his home was a part of the tour was in 2003.

Mary Morrow has toured the houses of Pilgrimage for more than 20 years.

“I’m thankful the homeowners are willing for all of us to walk through the homes and ooh and ah,” Morrow said.

She also visited Ashford, Bjelke Cottage, the cemetery and Kenan House Friday, but will be out of town for the rest of the weekend.

“I’m going to mark my calendar now for the third week in March so I don’t plan anything else,” Morrow said.

Tickets are available per house, day or for the full weekend for $10 to $65. Visit the Vaughn-Smitherman Museum from 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. to purchase tickets. After 4 p.m., tickets will be available at each house.