I was reminded yesterday morning that I didn’t actually say what houses I had seen on the Columbus Pilgrimage. I admit that while I was writing Tuesday’s post, I got distracted by my worry that Jack Bauer might die a terrible death from nerve gas poisoning, so you’ll have to forgive the gaps in my writing.
Before I give you my annotated list, I should mention that in almost every house (almost all of which were real live homes where people actually live) we were allowed to traipse around upstairs and look into bathrooms and such, which is way more than I would want people to see in my house, in the unlikely event that anyone would ever want to pay money to see my house (but if you do want to pay money to see my house, it’ll be $5, no checks please). So, special kudos to each homeowner who opened their house to the public, spent probably weeks cleaning and getting ready and then two weeks every other morning or afternoon in a hoop skirt or suit greeting complete strangers. I don’t know if it was worth it for you, but speaking as a tourist, it was worth it for me–thank you for your labor of love.
I was also struck by the many young people (who I sometimes call kids, but I’ve been told that’s rude and a word reserved only for young goats) who were involved as docents or handing out refreshments or even just stamping the tickets. I know a number of them were the children of the owners, which is great to see, and at Errolton, I think it was, the young daughter had actually convinced her parents to put the house back on tour after it had been “resting” for a decade or two. I talked to a couple of girls at one house who said they went to Heritage Academy and that they were required to have 100 hours of community service before graduation, so that motivated many students to play a role in Pilgrimage. I think that pushes young people to get involved in their community in a really meaningful way–I’m not sure Columbus could pull off the Pilgrimage without them–and also maybe gives them a taste of their own history, an experience they couldn’t get anywhere else.
One thing I hope to see in the future is more racial diversity in both the tours and the tourists. This has been a weakness from the beginning in all pilgrimages, but it is more complex than many critics will allow. So I don’t expect change overnight but have hope that it will come.
Ok, without further ado, here’s my Annotated List of Buildings I Saw on the Columbus Pilgrimage:
White Arches: Amazing “Columbus style” architecture, with elements of Greek, Gothic, and Italianate. Where else would they stick such a tower on the front and get away with it? Greeted by Mr. Leike, in full Confederate general regalia. The library–wonderful! and the docent there was really great too–very knowledgeable and relaxed in his story-telling. Here’s where Mrs. Leike told the truth about the petticoat mirrors–yay!
Rosewood Manor: This was the oldest house we saw, built around 1835, and I think they said it was the oldest brick house in town. I never saw so much porcelain in my life, but I learned alot about Old Paris. We also enjoyed wandering the paths of the garden–could have spend more time there but had to move on. All the azaleas were in bloom and smelled wonderful!
Whitehall (1843): I really loved this place–it was very welcoming and you could tell kids are living there: it wasn’t fussy at all. I went back and forth on what picture to put to the side here between the expected facade shot and a picture of the amazing blue-and-white-tile original bathroom (well, not original with the house but early 20th century). I finally decided to go with the facade view because it’s probably not fair to put a picture of people’s bathroom, no matter how beautiful, on the internet. But let me tell you, it’s a great bathroom. We also enjoyed our peach tea and sweet treats–we sat out on the side porch in the swing and had a time of refreshment before moving on.
Rosedale: I had always wanted to see Rosedale, an 1855 Italianate-style house whose design is based on Samuel Sloan’s published plans in the Model Architect. It’s just finishing up a major restoration, even down to the oil cloth in the main hall that imitates a marble floor and the wall-to-wall carpets in many of the rooms. I’m not sure whether the carpets were based on historic photos or remnants or what. Some of the colors were . . . whoo! I wouldn’t want them in my home necessarily, but I admit those antebellum ancients had some very strange tastes when it came to colors. I also spent lots of time examining the intricate inlaid desks–whoever made those had a lot of skill and a lot of patience.
Stephen D. Lee House and Museum: This is where the historical society in Columbus got its start, saving it from the wrecking back after the high school it had become attached to in the 20th century burned down in the late 1950s. It’s now a museum and space for special events. This was the first time I had ever been in the house. It’s very different from many of the other Columbus “mansions”–seems refined in many ways but then not-so-much in other ways. I think it must have had an architect, but who could it have been? It’s a mystery still to be solved. The historical society finished off the tour with lemonade and sweets for the weary tourists. Mmmmm.
Waverley: What can I say about Waverley that hasn’t already been said, or that I will say in the future? It’s an amazing place, almost sacred in the preservation pantheon. Plus, I got mooned by a peacock–how cool is that?
Bryn Bella (Cox House): I had never really known of this place, so it was a treat to get introduced. Built in 1848, around the same time as the S.D. Lee House, and designed by James Lull, the same architect as Whitehall and Riverview and several other important buildings in Columbus. This house is a little simpler than those town houses because it’s out in the country. A giraffe’s head decorates the corner of the front sitting room–never saw that before and I don’t suppose I ever will again either.
Errolton: Also built in 1848–wow, you can really see the difference between the Cox House and Errolton on one hand and the S.D. Lee House on the other, all built within a year of each other–we don’t know the architect of Errolton that I can find at least. Like White Arches, it has that Columbus style with Gothic, Greek and Italianate all mashed up into one wonderful concoction. I liked the kids (excuse me, young people) who led us around here–several of them lived there, one of them talked the parents into putting the house on tour, and they were all very invested in entertaining us. Great fun!
Amzi Love House: I had a picture of the exterior on Tuesday’s post so I wanted to throw in this image of the distinctive newel that’s not only in the Amzi Love House but also, as I recall in Whitehall and Riverview, both of which were designed by James Lull. I don’t think we know who the architect of Amzi Love was, but if it wasn’t Lull then it must have been one particular craftsman who was working on all these staircases. This house has been in the same family for 7 generations, most of those passed down through the maternal line, which is interesting. Sid Carradine is the latest in the line, and he clearly loves the house and its history and wants to share it with visitors. It’s an amazing place and if you find yourself in Columbus during the week, any week not just Pilgrimage, I bet you if you stop by he’d show you around. It would definitely be worth it!
I’m aware that I promised to tell you what my favorite house was, and I’ll keep that promise tomorrow. You’ve probably already guessed.
Read the exciting conclusion to this trilogy!