Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

November 24, 2013

Highlands Museum and Discovery Center's Christmas Tour of homes

Part one: Fannin, Akers, Merritt residences

Lee Ward
The Independent

ASHLAND — This year’s Christmas Tour of Homes, presented by the Ladies of the Highlands, includes a variety of houses with unique architecture exquisitely decorated in styles that reflect the owneres’ tastes.

Cecil and Judy Fannin

2008 Lexington Ave.

This stucco house was built in 1918 by financier and coal operator Lon Rogers and includes embellishments such as a Renaissance Loggia and thatched roof. The house was placed on the National Registry of Historic Places in 1979; the Fannins purchased it in 1992.

Mrs. Fannin’s Christmas decorations stresses the concept of “collections,” featuring chickens, Santas, gourds, safari and travel souvenirs. The Renaissance tree in the dining room is a refurbished piece purchased during the first Festival of Trees at the Paramount Arts Center 29 years ago.

Darryl and Jane Akers

1520 Chestnut Drive

Known as the Culbertson mansion because it was built by William Wirt Culbertson, the house dates to 1876 and has a four-story tower on the east wall. The bricks were kilned on the grounds and later were painted white. In 1947, Dr. Herman Martin purchased the house and removed the paint.

Twice, the house was converted to a multi-family unit, but in 2004, the Akers family bought the house and lived in three first-floor rooms while converting it back to a single-family dwelling. Original butternut and walnut doors and woodwork remain and restoration is ongoing.

Decorations include an antique-style tree bearing many late 1800s die-cut Christmas ornaments and a vast collection of miniature Christmas houses.

Marc and Priscilla Merritt

2507 Forest Ave.

Built in 1952 by George and Essie Sexton, this house was purchased by Garner and Millie Robinson in 1967, who added a great room and second-floor library in the early 1970s, connecting the house to the three-car garage with a four-room apartment above. In 1994, the kitchen and master bathroom were enlarged before the Merritts bought the property in 1998, which includes two water gardens.

The holiday décor features several Christmas trees, including a candy tree on the landing leading upstairs and a half tree in the living room.

This week, the homes of Cecil and Judy Fannin, Darryl and Jane Akers and Marc and Priscilla Merrit are featured. Next week, the home of Richard and Janice Wheeler, Hanni-J. Ryan Insurance and the Highlands Museum and Discovery Center will be featured.

Ladies of the Highlands decorate the Highlands Museum and Discovery Center in preparation for the 2013 Christmas Tour of Homes, set for 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 7 and 1 to 5 p.m. Dec. 8. Tickets, which are $20 in advance and $25 the day of the event, are available at the Highlands Museum and Discovery Center. Refreshments and transportation also will be available at the museum. Those touring must be 8 or older. For more information, call (606) 329-8888.



LEE WARD can be reached at lward@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2661.