Mentone, Alabama – The Mentone Area Arts Council will turn back the hands of time on April 27-28, 2013, when it presents the sixth annual Tour of Historic Homes and Landmarks. The self-guided tour of homes, hotels, churches, a camp, and several turn-of-the-nineteenth century landmarks begins at the Mentone Town Hall with sites located in Mentone, Alabama and in Cloudland and Menlo, Georgia.
The historic homes are not normally open for public viewing except when a select number open their doors during the annual Tour of Historic Homes and Landmarks. Visitors will be welcomed by guides dressed in period costumes who will elaborate on the history of the venues. Many of the houses on the tour were built as summer houses and cool mountain retreats from the summer heat of Birmingham and Atlanta. Some overlook the brow offering spectacular views of the valley below.
Built in the 1920s with large porches on the brow, Huckleberry Point captures the essence of the early summer homes. Lovingly restored with amazing views, this home located in Mentone is a once in a lifetime “must see.”
The home of Ruby O’Rear, known as the flower lady of Mentone and granddaughter of Mentone’s founder John Mason, is nestled among mountain wildflowers and colossal trees. A carved stone fireplace by a noted English carver is found in the living room.
Step into the summer home of Martha Berry, where she entertained worldly visitors including Henry Ford. Built in the 1920s, this large home features a dog trot design to cool the many bedrooms and living areas. Berry, a southern and progressive woman of her time, is the founder of Berry College, a small liberal arts institution near Rome, Georgia.
Located in Mentone, the Lyday’s Rock House, where Jim Lyday wrote “First off the Mountain,” showcases the skills of the master stone masons from the turn of the century. A smaller log cabin built in 1926 is also open for the weekend.
Not to be missed is the beautifully restored Lawrence House, home of the founding father of Menlo, Georgia. Located at the bottom of the mountain, it boasts six carved mantles and the Georgia Champion American Holly Tree.
The Eleam House in Cloudland was the first one on Lookout Mountain to have running water and electricity. People used to drive carriages out to see the lone light bulb shining in the dark. The house has been rebuilt atop the original rock foundation.
Located on the grounds of St. Joseph’s on the Mountain Episcopal Church is the oldest original log structure in Mentone — built in 1832. Dark pews in the chancel area were stained and hand rubbed by George Washington Carver.
The Cloudland Presbyterian Church is a jewel of stone and stained glass that takes visitors to a time before paved roads. Built in the depression era, stones for this were lovingly gathered by parishioners in horse drawn wagons.
Juliette Low, founder of the Girl Scouts, personally established only one camp in her lifetime. At Camp Juliette Low, located on Little River in Cloudland, Georgia, visitors will be met by campers in pantaloons and vintage uniforms for a tour of the almost unchanged original camp buildings.
A silent auction, open to the public, will be held in conjunction with the Tour of Homes at Mentone Town Hall where visitors can bid on original works of art including wood carvings, handmade jewelry, photography, and forged pieces along with home baked goods, jellies, jams and wine, native plants and wildflowers, antiques, Lookout Mountain memorabilia, weekend getaways, gift certificates to Mentone restaurants and shops, and a hunting trip for a whitetail buck deer. Online bidding will also be available at www.mentonearts.com until 3 p.m., Sunday, April 28th. For more information on the silent auction, call Dianne Tindol at 205.919.0908.
Tickets may be purchased at the Mentone Town Hall located at 5972 Highway 117 in Mentone on the days of the tour only. Cost is $10 for members of Mentone Area Arts Council and $12.50 for non-members. Tickets are good for both days. Proceeds benefit the Mentone Area Arts Council. Maps are also available at the Mentone Town Hall.
In addition to the aforementioned homes, a number of original hotels, stores and restaurants, with costumed staff on hand to greet visitors, in Mentone will be open during the weekend tour.
About the Mentone Area Arts Council
Founded in 2006, The Mentone Area Arts Council (MAAC) is a non-profit tax exempt organization that has enriched the quality of life for people in Mentone, Alabama, and neighboring communities by raising funds for the arts, sponsoring events, providing educational opportunities, and strengthening cultural resources for the benefit of all businesses and citizens in the Mentone area.