The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

November 25, 2013

Danville homeowners prepare for Iron Heritage Festival holiday tour visitors

By Karen Blackledge
The Danville News

— DANVILLE — Six homes plus the Montgomery House Museum will be part of this year’s holiday house tour sponsored by the Iron Heritage Festival Committee.

Proceeds benefit the Iron Heritage Festival.

Tours will be from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 14 and from noon to 5 p.m. Dec. 15. Tickets are $15 and available at the festival company store at 316 Mill St., the Danville Area Community Center at 1 Liberty St. and Scott’s Floral at 155 Northumberland St.

Tickets can also be purchased at the houses. People can take both days to tour the locations, said event co-chairmen Sis Hause and Lynn Reichen.

This is approximately the 10th year for the tour which has drawn people from as far as Philadelphia. “We usually have 150 to 200 people. We have been told ours is the best around,” Reichen said.

There will be entertainment and refreshments at the destinations, which will be decked out for the holidays. The museum is located at 1 Bloom St.

Homes on the tour are those of the Marti Harris and the Matthew Facktor family at 25 Overlook Drive; Martin and Cynthia Walzer at 145 Kitchen Road; the Gearhart Riverfront Unit at 6 Jacob’s Landing; the William Penn Unit at 15 Jacob’s Landing; Roger and Susanne Woodruff at 201 High Road; and the Terry and Sherry Jones family at 159 Susquehanna Road.

Tickets include directions and a description of each location.

Chances for a gift basket can be purchased at the tour destinations and at the festival company store. They are $1 each or six for $5.

Civil War re-enactors will be at the Jones home which is where Col. Charles W. Eckman, or the old “War Horse of the 93rd,” had lived.

“Don’t be surprised if you meet Santa along the way,” Hause said of the tour.

The museum was built in 1792 by Revolutionary War patriot William Montgomery. The museum is dedicating this Christmas season to the Civil War period by stepping back to 1863. Greens and floral arrangements were created by Ruth Anne McCormick.

The Harris and Facktor home, with its floor to ceiling windows, contains a spectacular view of Montour Ridge and the Susquehanna River. Visitors may see a few chickens walking around the grounds because they provide the family with eggs.

The Walzer residence is one of the earliest farms in West Hemlock Township. The stone home was built in the very early 1800s. Cindy’s decorations show her dedication to teaching children. Marty, who grew up in Bethlehem, has not lost his Moravian traditions with a Moravian star, single candles in each window and a Moravian sugar cake prominently displayed.

Two of the new Jacob’s Landing condominiums are part of the tour. The development is named for Jacob Gearhart, an early settler who operated a ferry from Riverside to Danville. The Gearhart and William Penn units are three levels, with the William Penn being the largest of the brownstones.

The Woodruffs bought the family farm, from the 1800s, in1972. Several of the 17 Farmall tractors Roger has collected and renovated will be on display. Each room will have a Christmas tree and family collections.

The Jones’ home, along Roaring Creek, began with George Boone who left his plantation in Columbia County to his daughter, Sarah, and her husband, William Gearhart. Their son, Mayberry, eventually became the owner. The township was named for him in 1853. Col. Eckman married Mayberry’s daughter, Sophia, and they lived on the homestead. Eckman and the 93rd fought in all the major battles of the Civil War.

Email comments to kblackledge@thedanvillenews.com.