Bethlehem Press

Monday, December 11, 2017
PRESS PHOTOS COURTESY BETHLEHEM HISTORIC DISTRICT ASSOCIATIONThis Federal style home at 129 E. Market St. was once owned by Archibald Johnston, president of Bethlehem Steel and first mayor of Bethlehem. PRESS PHOTOS COURTESY BETHLEHEM HISTORIC DISTRICT ASSOCIATIONThis Federal style home at 129 E. Market St. was once owned by Archibald Johnston, president of Bethlehem Steel and first mayor of Bethlehem.
This Victorian carriage house at 510 High St. is part of the original Weiss Estate along what was known as Bethlehem’s “Millionaire Mile.” This Victorian carriage house at 510 High St. is part of the original Weiss Estate along what was known as Bethlehem’s “Millionaire Mile.”

Holiday House Tours return Dec. 9

Tuesday, December 5, 2017 by Katya Hrichak Special to the Bethlehem Press in Local News

The Bethlehem Historic District Association (BHDA) Holiday House Tour 2017 offers tour participants a unique opportunity to celebrate the holiday season while becoming better acquainted with Bethlehem’s history. The Dec. 9 tour will explore nine homes in Bethlehem’s Historic District, enlightening visitors with historically-appropriate decorations and information about each home’s specific history.

In the past, the BHDA arranged Holiday House Tours on a semi-annual basis. After a three-year break, newer BHDA members decided to welcome the responsibility and re-establish the tour tradition.

“We’re going to definitely have a whole new group of people coming in and stepping up to the plate and developing it and really making it work,” BHDA member Virginia Hartman said. “It’s exciting; it’s very exciting. We’re having a ball doing it, too. It’s so much fun.”

Although the last tour took place three years ago, Hartman said that houses will not be repeated. To participate in the Holiday House Tour, home owners volunteer, opting to either decorate their homes themselves or call in outside help for tasks such as flower arranging.

This year, a few of the features of the tour include a home featured on HGTV’s “House Hunters” where Benjamin Franklin was once a guest, a restored 1917 mansion with its own Scottish pub, a Grand Victorian townhouse, a Victorian carriage house and a Civil War-era home owned by antique collectors, among others. Docents will be present at each house to inform visitors of the history of each individual home.

In addition to providing the city with another holiday activity, the proceeds from the tour are returned to the Historic District in the form of sidewalk repair and replacement, tree maintenance and other initiatives that maintain the safety and appearance of the area.

What makes this house tour special?

“It is Bethlehem,” Hartman said. “ This is the Christmas City.”

The Holiday House Tour 2017 will take place Dec. 9 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will grant access to nine private Historic District homes as well as the first floor exhibits at the Kemerer Museum, two private artists’ studios and a special tour of the Hotel Bethlehem.

For more information or to order tickets, visit www.bhda.org/housetour.