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For the first time, the Marietta Pilgrimage Christmas Home Tour will feature the Forest Hills Historic District on Dec. 7-8. Marietta Visitors Bureau and Cobb Landmarks & Historical Society present the 33rd annual tour. Six private homes will be open to the public along with numerous public buildings.

“This year the tour is visiting a new historic district. The Forest Hills neighborhood was recently designated a local historic district by the city of Marietta. It’s a wonderful collection of homes with some really charming architecture. We’re excited to be in a district we haven’t had on tour before,” said Trevor Beemon, executive director of Cobb Landmarks.

This popular tour has been featured in Southern Living and named a Top 100 Event in North America.

“The Marietta Pilgrimage has become a great Marietta tradition. People look forward to it all year. Our committee has been working very hard to put together a wonderful tour,” Beemon said.

The tour features a new market. “This year we have added a Pilgrimage Market, which will feature gifts made by local craftspeople and artist. The Market will be located at the William Root House Museum & Garden. Cobb Landmarks’ new interpretive center and headquarters at the Root House will also be open for the first time during the tour,” Beemon said.

You support the community when you go on the tour. “Funds raised from the tour benefit the Marietta Visitors Bureau and Cobb Landmarks. Both are worthy nonprofit organizations that work hard to improve the quality of life in our community,” Beemon said.

For tickets and more information, visit www.mariettapilgrimage.com. Tickets may also be purchased in advance at the Marietta Welcome Center or the William Root House from Dec. 2-5.

Home descriptions provided by Cobb Landmarks

I. Hunt-Ford-Browne House, 1907

Open during day and candlelight hours

Originally known as 109 Forest Avenue, the Craftsman style house was built in 1907. This six bedroom house was thought to have been constructed by John T. Hunt and was used as a boarding house for teachers. Two original teacher desks remain in the house.

Mr. Hunt, a local druggist, lived in the house with his sister and his niece, Laura Ford. Miss Ford lived in the house until the late 1940s and was the principal at Haynes Street School. In the 1950s and 1960s, the house was corporately owned and rented as apartments. It is believed that Lockheed employees would rent them during the week and travel home on weekends. The house was converted back into a single family home in the mid-1970s. The current owners, David and Brenda Browne, purchased the home in 2013.

II. Phillips-Ingram-Vien House, 1905

Open during day and candlelight hours

This Georgian style home was built between 1900 and 1905, first appearing as 110 Forest Avenue on the 1905 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map. The home was built for Sterling C. Phillips, who was the Assistant Postmaster of Marietta. Sterling lived in the home with his wife Caroline (Carrie) and their three children. After his death, Carrie sold the house to Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Stringer in 1913. The deed was conveyed to Mrs. Alice Stringer in 1917, and she owned the home until it was sold to James Kemp Ingram in 1943. The property was later deeded to Marguerite Barnes Ingram, who operated a boarding house there until her death in 1981.

In 1983, the house was purchased by Carol Vien’s father, Jack Schrimsher. Later that year, the current homeowners Peter and Carol Vien, purchased the home and have occupied it since that time. When they moved in, the original boarding house room numbers were still over the bedrooms.

III. Keeler-Palmer-Zenoni House, 1909

Open during day and candlelight hours

In 1886, Illinois native George Henry Keeler and his wife Anna Belle Bane moved to Tate, Georgia, to partake in the expanding mineral business of the Georgia Marble Company. George worked as a general manager for the company for four years. Soon after, his family began to grow, and he decided to move to Marietta. George raised his family in Marietta and continued to work in the quarrying business. In 1909, George built this small one story, six room Craftsman style home. The Keeler family lived in the home until 1916. George’s son, Oscar Bane Keeler, was the chief chronicler of golf professional Bobby Jones. O.B. worked closely with Jones and was recognized as a national journalist and authority on golf. After the death of his wife, George sold the home to Guyton P. Reynolds, who later sold it to Maude Talbot.

In 1993 architect Gregory Palmer and his wife Jennifer purchased the home from Maude Talbot and undertook a two-year restoration project to preserve the original materials of the home. After a successful restoration, the home was then sold to Larry Zenoni in 1999. Zenoni has since maintained the original character of the home.

IV. Barber-Mercier House, 1928

Open during day and candlelight hours

The Forest Hills community was established in 1928. It was recognized as a National Register Historic District last year. This charming Arts & Crafts style bungalow was built in 1928. In the mid 1930s, the house was purchased by Durant Barber, a lifelong Marietta resident and District Manager for the Life Insurance Corporation of Virginia. He and his wife Stella lived in the house for over 40 years.

The current owners, Dennis and Ruby Mercier, purchased the home in 1997. They were the first to begin a restoration project in the neighborhood. The Merciers removed a wall between the living and dining areas to create open space and the attic was opened to create a master bedroom suite. The floors in the house are all original. All the artwork in the house is by the homeowner Dennis Mercier. His artwork is on dispay at Knoke Fine Arts Gallery. Dennis works in an art studio located on the property.

The childhood home of Academy Award winner JoAnn Woodward is located around the corner from the Merciers.

V. Marion-Kruger House, 1945

Open during day hours only

This lovely Cottage style home was built in 1946 by Joseph and May Marion. The original number was 217 Hunt Street. They lived in the house for 23 years until it was purchased by Zanna Giles. After which, it was successively owned by Willis E. Hollis, George and Evelyn Redding, and Lynda B. Davis. The current owners, William and Sarah Kruger, bought the property in 2006.

The house has undergone several additions and renovations, including enclosing the original front porch for a sitting room in 1970. A new front porch was added in 2009. In 2011, a three-story addition was completed, which included a master bedroom suite, a basement, and an upstairs addition. William and Sarah took great care to ensure that the exterior of the home kept the look and feel of the original two-room house.

The house originally had hand milled board and batten siding on the exterior, which was probably milled on site. This original siding was preserved on the exterior wall of the covered front porch and in the breakfast room during renovation. The stained glass windows over the small windows in the living room came from a old house in England.

VI. McLemore-Powell-McMinn House, 1950

Open during day hours only

Originally 213 Hunt Street, this Craftsman style house was built 1949-1950.

The earliest owners were John W. McLemore and later Dessie May Turner. Guy Powell, an inspector at Lockheed, purchased the home in 1954. He lived in the house until it was purchased by William and Karen Douglas in 1987. The home was then owned by Gail and Jerome Arnold until the current owners, Jan & Chip McMinn, bought it in 2010.

The McMinns added a master bedroom suite as well as all exterior spaces, porches and decks. The house was a duplex that the McMinns converted into a single family home. The owners sketched all the renovations on graph paper, and taped out the floors and walls using blue painters tape. The sign over the screen porch describes the renovation process: “I didn’t say it would be easy. I said it would be worth it.” The bricks used on the lower level patio were recycled from the Fort Hill Homes, which were demolished in 2012.

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