Historic homes, buildings open their doors for 43rd annual Pilgrimage

Published 10:28 pm Friday, March 16, 2018

More than a dozen historic homes and buildings opened their doors in Selma and Dallas County opened Friday for the first day of the 43rd annual Historic Pilgrimage.

The tour lured people from across the country to go inside private homes that are only opened once a year for Pilgrimage.

McKenzie Horton, one of the junior hostesses, poses for a photo on the balcony of the Parke House on Selma Avenue. (Alaina Denean Deshazo | Times-Journal)

Gail Scott-Parizer made the long trip to Selma from Gaithersburg, Maryland. A friend of hers is from Selma and comes back home to the Pilgrimage each year, so she decided to join her.

Email newsletter signup

“We are truly impressed with the antiques, the restorations that were done and with how a couple of them were so comfortable and livable despite the fact they were beautiful too,” she said around lunch time after already visiting several homes.

Scott-Parizer said she has traveled all over the country and even to other countries to see architecture. This year’s trip to Selma for the Pilgrimage marks her second journey to the Queen City.

“Our son has a real interest in the Civil War era, and we traveled through here years ago with him seeing Civil War sites and restored towns and homes and things like that,” she said. “It’s something we enjoy very much.”

As homeowners opened their doors, visitors walked up and down the sidewalks admiring the vast array of architecture on display.

Junior hostesses Hope Smith, Mary Karson Melton and Emily Morrow pose for a photo Friday on the grounds of Miss Minnie Sue’s Cottage at Heritage Village. (Alaina Denean Deshazo | Times-Journal)

Robert Gamble and his wife, Renate Rommel, made the trip from just a few miles up the road in Montgomery. The couple has been to Pilgrimage for many years and continue to come back for it each year.

“We always find something new every time, and it is nice to be acquainted with older things and reacquainted. We just like to support the town. It’s an interesting place with an interesting history,” Gamble said.

“This is a very special town. To me, it’s a jewel that ought to be protected.”

Rommel enjoys seeing how the houses are decorated on the inside, but he prefers the architecture.

“Both of us get a little bit out of it. I learn a little bit more about the interiors and the decoration, and she learns a little bit about architecture,” he said.

“You have such a variety here in Selma, and that’s remarkable. You can get Greek Revival, Victorian, Italianate and Gothic Revival. You’ve got it all here.”

Marie Gospodareck came for Pilgrimage with a group of ladies from Trussville First United Methodist Church.


She said it is an annual tradition running on 10 years for the group to travel somewhere and tour historic homes and buildings.

“We love to get together and travel. We love to see the different styles and different places,” she said. “We love it. We wouldn’t do it if we didn’t love it.”

Gospodareck was anxiously waiting to tour the Parke House on Selma Avenue, which was built circa 1859. The home is an antebellum mansion that was originally constructed as a wedding present.

While seeing the decorations, the architecture and special-made flower arrangements is enjoyable, she said feeling the history in each home is a special experience.

“Some places you can almost just feel the history in the air,” she said.

Candi Duncan, who works with the Pilgrimage, said the first day of the event went well and saw a steady crowd of people.

Pilgrimage will continue today at 9 a.m.

Tickets can be purchased at the Vaughan Smitherman Museum, which is Pilgrimage headquarters.