Batesville tour a mix of the holidays and history

LeAnn Askins/Contributing Writer Published December 8, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
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LeAnn Askins/Contributing Photographer

Attendees of the Christmas Tour of Historic Homes leave the former home of Lucretia “Lutie” Maxfield Wilson, a Batesville resident who kept a Civil War diary that included accounts of the military occupations and actions in and around Batesville.

BATESVILLE — Despite the mild temperatures, Main Street was abuzz with holiday spirit on Dec. 1. Music played, Christmas décor abounded, and area residents strolled down the streets while visiting historic homes.

The Christmas Tour of Historic Homes has become a staple in this Independence County town, taking place every other year. The tour is a fundraiser for the Batesville Preservation Association, which promotes restoration of historic properties in the Batesville area by educating property owners, the public and policymakers. The association also recognizes property owners for success in preserving and restoring property.

Terrell Tebbetts, a member of the association, said the event is a successful fundraiser for a variety of reasons. Besides raising money, the tour also helps increase awareness of the importance of preserving historic sites.

Allowing the public to tour historic homes gives them the opportunity to see the possibilities for renovating similar homes, Tebbetts explained. He noted that more and more historic homes are being purchased by younger couples and families, a trend the Batesville Preservation Association hopes will continue.

“We want to do good for the historic neighborhoods in Batesville,” Tebbetts said.

Funds raised at the event will be used to support numerous

projects in the town. Grants are often awarded to make infrastructure improvements to various areas, Tebbetts said. He said a grant was recently given to the city to place sidewalks at the Old Independence Regional Museum.

Four historic homes on Main Street were open for visitors during this year’s Christmas Tour of Historic Homes:

• The Maxfield-Evans House, owned by Robb and Amanda Roberts;

• The former home of Lucretia “Lutie” Maxfield Wilson, owned by Kyle and Celena Anderson;

• The Cook-Morrow House, owned by Bron and Dr. Meriden Glasgow; and

• The Mitchell House, owned by Ron and Jennifer Davidson.

In addition to self-guided tours, homeowners were on hand to tell visitors about the renovations they have made to the homes and a little bit about their history. Robb and Amanda Roberts have pictures in their home of the previous owners, along with those who had a role in building and renovating the home.

Robb Roberts said that over the years, the Maxfield-Evans House had fallen into a state of disrepair, and at one time even had vagrants living in areas of the home.

In the mid-’70s, local businessman J.K. Southerland began the process of restoring the home. The Roberts family purchased the property in 2008, allowing several months for

renovation before moving into the home in 2009.

Amanda Roberts said that the couple have a small child, so the home needed to be comfortable and homey, yet renovated to preserve its historic significance.

“When we moved in, we wanted to do as much as we could to keep it historic,” she said.

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