Eight homes and two historic buildings will be showcased on this year’s Highland County Historical Society Tour of Homes and Historic Buildings that will be held Sunday, June 23 from noon to 5 p.m.
An additional highlight to this year’s tour is the opening of Music Makers Museum, a private music history collection of how Americans have recorded and collected music open only by special events and appointments.
“The tour provides visitors the opportunity to explore first-hand some of the area’s valuable architecture and history, from a pioneer-style log cabin to old farmhouses to Hillsboro’s stately residences,” the historical society said in a news release.
Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for children. Tickets are available in Hillsboro at Appearance Salon, Cundiff’s Flowers, the Highland House Museum, Gibbs Insurance Agency or Warren Furniture. Tickets will also be available at the Highland House Museum the day of the event.
Following is a description of each of the stops on the tour as provided by the historical society.
Near Belfast at 2594 SR 73 South, John and Joanie Grimes continue the tradition of farming at Maplecrest Farms with a focus on cattle production. The farm house was built in the early 1900s. The land was previously farmed by M.A. Garrett, the oldest Civil War soldier in Highland County, who lived there 66 years and farmed 500 acres. Garrett passed away at the age of 98.
The Grimeses bought the farmhouse from Colonel Rogers in 1990 and went through a remodel in 2006. The original stairway, angled fireplaces and a mantel remain in the 10-room house. There are several heirloom pieces of furniture, as well as a Portland Cutter Sleigh that graces the dining room.
Among the scenic hills of the southern portion of the county, Brian and Kimberly Allen will greet visitors at their log cabin at 4885 Stanforth Lane. The cabin was resurrected from an early tobacco barn and brought to the site using all original materials. The Allens’ cabin also has exposed roof rafters taken from the former Eliza Jane “Mother” Thompson home. Thompson was a national and local leader of the Temperance Movement.
Period decor completes the Allens’ cabin-style home.
Where gracious historic homes and trees line the streets, Paul and Randalyn Worley will greet visitors at 409 W. Walnut St.. The two-story federal-style brick house was constructed circa 1868 by B.V. Hoagland. The property was previously known as the Hiestand/Lucas home. Joseph M. Hiestand purchased the property in 1871. Several prominent Hillsboro families have called the residence home and extensive renovations have taken place over the years. Reconstructed mantels grace the living and dining rooms and a center hall remains intact.
Near the western edge of Hillsboro, Lowell and Sharon Sullivan will greet visitors to their two-story brick Georgian-style home at 315 Danville Pike. This circa 1872 house was built by Hillsboro attorney Henry Roads. Four previous owners are known, but people often referred to the home as the Henry House. It was extensively remodeled in 2003 by Brian and Abby Neal.
The house currently has four working fireplaces and a kitchen-sunroom combination. The Sullivans have filled the home with country antiques. The house is located on five acres and the owners say it is like living in the country with wildlife seen in the backyard on a daily basis.
At 418 W. Pleasant St., Mindy Lee will greet visitors. Jess Griffith built the house in the 1940s after World War II. Two more houses built by Griffith stood next door. In 2011, Jacob Morgan completely renovated the house.
Visitors can still see the original post era light fixtures, hardwood floors and a fireplace in the living room. The home’s decor is influenced by Lee’s artistic flair and musical background.
Earl and Vicky Smith will greet visitors at their home at 634 N. High St. Daniel Faris Scott, a prominent Hillsboro merchant, built the two-story brick house circa 1875. It was known as the Durnell house for many years, but its ownership can be traced to two previous families.
The Smiths purchased the property in 2014. The home has characteristic charms of Hillsboro’s older aristocratic homes including hardwood floors, ceiling moldings and chandeliers, a summer kitchen, sunroom and carriage house.
Near Hillsboro’s eastern edge, the Hillsboro House is a historical two-story brick house at 246 E. Main St. Originally known as the Schraw House, Steve and Susan Thompson recently completed major renovations to transform the home into a bed and breakfast and event location. Keeping the home’s historic character they have restored the hardwood floors, woodwork and fireplaces.
In the Rocky Fork Lake area, visitors can enjoy the historic farmhouse, landscaped yard and Music Makers Museum at 11885 U.S. Route 50, Hillsboro. Rodney and Charlotte Pack are the 16th owners of the home.
James and Margaret Young built the two-story federal-style brick house circa 1829. It is among the oldest homes in Highland County. James Young was a prosperous farmer, school trustee, justice of the peace and trustee for the Associated Reformed Presbyterian Church. Oral tradition says it was a stop on the Underground Railroad. The Youngs’ daughter, Mary Young, married prominent abolitionist Samuel Crothers of Greenfield.
In 2014, they restored the four-column porch and balcony and turned the attic into a library. The home retains the original hardwood plank floors, long windows flood the rooms with sunlight and fireplaces still adorn every room. An eclectic style of antiques fills every nook and cranny of the home, including kerosene lamp and inkwell collections.
Visitors will be able to explore Music Makers Museum. After 25 years of collecting crank phonographs, the couple turned their private collection into a professional exhibit titled “How’d We Get Here?” It explores the history of American music recording and collecting through artifacts and stories of artists, record collectors and inventors who overcame their challenges to make music history.
According to the Packs, this is one of only a handful of museums worldwide where you can see such an extensive display of early music recording technology. Rodney Pack, also known as the phonograph man for this phonograph restoration work, said, “We have come so far from Thomas Edison’s invention of the crank phonograph few people know about or experience this early music era. Music has become so commonplace we don’t realize how much of a marvel Edison’s phonograph was in 1877.”
The interactive, family-friendly exhibit goes from the 1840s through 2000 and includes some famous Ohio recording artists.
Visitors will be able to explore St. Mary’s Episcopal Church at 234 N. High St. In the winter of 1851 or 1852, William H. Bayard began the first regular Episcopal services held in this region, conducting them in his own parlor. Officially, papers were filed with the county around Dec. 9, 1853, and the vestry of the church set about planning for the building of the church at a meeting held Dec. 31, 1853. The land had previously been held by the Trimble family and a blacksmith shop operated on the lot.
The current building was consecrated in October 1855. Constant improvements have been made, including the gallery being added, the side entrance converted into a baptistery, donation of the stained glass windows replacing the plain original windows originally installed. In 1908, the rear building was added and in 2017, the building beside the main building was completed.
Many items are original to the building, some being brought as a gift from New York City by a friend of one of the founders. They include the stone baptismal font, a silver communion set, still in use, as well as various educational materials and books used in the service. The pipe organ, dating from 1885, has been rebuilt and is still played during services and special events.
The Highland House Museum at 151 E. Main St. is a federal-style, two-story brick house built by Christopher Arthur for Peter Leake Ayers from Virginia. The house was completed in 1844 and plans are underway by the museum for the building’s 175th anniversary.
After several different owners, the house was purchased in 1882 by Joseph Gaskill. During that time the building went through many changes, including the addition of rooms, closing of porches, and the conversion into a hotel named the Highland House. In 1889, Samuel Parsons Scott and his sister, Jane, purchased the property as an investment. At that time Cary T. Pope, a former Highland County sheriff, took over the management of the inn. In 1905, the property was acquired by Eugene Zimmerman and for many years the house was operated as a resident hotel by his daughter, Kate Doorley, and later by her daughter, Jane. Under their management, the Highland House became famous for its food with not only travelers, but the townspeople who visited Sundays for a traditional family meal.
The Highland House changed hands again in 1964 when Helen Boyd purchased the property. Two years later, the newly formed Highland County Historical Society purchased the property from the Boyd estate.
Now, 15 rooms and four wide halls are arranged to recreate the past of Highland County with various artifacts and documents, including artifacts from the Colony Theatre. Also there is a meeting room, which is available to rent, and a museum gift shop featuring books and crafts by local residents, Hillsboro memorabilia and antiques.
“By attending the home tour visitors support the Highland County Historical Society, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preservation of local history,” the news release said.
For additional information or tickets, call 937-393-3392 or email at [email protected].