A 104-year-old cottage style home with a storybook charm and canopy of trees in historic Decatur took on a new appearance Saturday.
John and Wendy Ellis, owners of the Jervis-Ellis house on 619 Johnston St. S.E., transformed their historic residence into a real-life gingerbread house — complete with dancing gingerbread men, lifesized candy and the scent of pine and cinnamon wafting in the air.
The Ellis’ were one of nine families to open their homes to the public Saturday during the city’s annual Historic Decatur Christmas Tour in the Albany and Old Decatur neighborhood districts.
It was one of many holiday events going on in the city. Another Saturday was the Parade of Lights on the Tennessee River.
Rebecca Williams, who lives near Delano Park, said seeing the 10-foot live Christmas tree, artificial snowflakes hanging from the ceilings and lighthouses at the Johnston Street house is a yearly tradition.
“I just enjoy seeing how the people decorate their houses,” she said. “With the older homes, I love to see how they’re decorated but also how they’ve been renovated. It’s great to see other people’s ideas.”
Although snowflakes didn’t fall in Decatur on Saturday, north Alabama residents pretended it was Christmas for a few hours while they viewed another 1920s-era home at 809 Line St. N.E.
Huntsville residents David and Sarah Holmes visited the eclectic home with an inviting wood fire and said the tour helped them get into the Christmas spirit — even though it was 70 degrees in December.
“This tour is so much nicer than it is in Huntsville,” he said. “Even though there are a lot of people on the tour, you don’t have to fight the crowds. The homes have just as much history and are just as elegant and well done.”
Charlotte Lang, of Auburn, traveled to Decatur on Saturday with her family and friends from Gadsden to take part in the historic holiday tour for the first time.
Lang said she was most impressed with the glow of Christmas lights, sequined garland and live greenery at the 111-year-old Gibson-Henson House at 305 Lafayette St. N.E.
“I love to get decoration ideas, the old homes are pretty, and I love the history behind them,” she said.
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