Nights Before Christmas Tour of Homes

Historic 1830s duplex among stops
on holiday tour of homes

Scroggins spent many years restoring property

By Konnie McCollum
Staff Writer

(November 2007) – In 1998, Pam and Charlie Scroggins acquired a historic duplex on St. Michaels Street in Madison, Ind., and spent years restoring it to its original splendor. Thanks to state and federal grants, the duplex, located at 121 and 123 St. Michaels St., has been beautifully refurbished and kept within strict historic preservation guidelines.

Pam Scroggins

Photo by Konnie McCollum

Pam Scroggins said she has been on
the Nights Before Christmas Tour many
times and is excited about her
home being included.

The public will get a chance to view the masterfully redone duplex during the 26th annual Nights Before Christmas Candlelight Tour of Homes, sponsored by the Madison Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. The tour, featuring four public historic homes and five private dwellings bedecked in holiday finery, will be held during the weekends of Nov. 23-25 and Nov. 30-Dec. 2.
The four public sites throughout historic downtown Madison include the Lanier Mansion State Historic Site, the Sullivan House, the Masonic Schofield House and the Jefferson County Historical Society’s Heritage Center. Most of the tour sites are located in Madison’s National Historic Landmark District, the largest collection of 19th-century dwellings in Indiana.
Tickets for the tour are $15 for adults and $5 for children ages 5-15. Advance adult tickets purchased prior to Nov. 9 are $12.50. In addition to the CVB, the tour is sponsored by Lanier Mansion State Historic Site, the Jefferson County Historical Society, Historic Madison Inc. and the Masonic Schofield House.
Marci Jones, the CVB’s event coordinator, said the tour is extremely popular. About 3,000 people participated in last year’s tour.
“Each year we choose different private homes and different restaurants for the tour, so visitors enjoy coming back year after year,” she said.
Pam Scroggins said when she was growing up in Madison, she always went on tours of the historic sites. “I’ve been on the Nights Before Christmas tour many times, so it just seemed so right to put our home on the tour when we finished it. When we got the grants for the restoration, we knew we would like to participate in the tour.”
Her duplex will be the first of its kind on the tour; normally the private sites are single-family dwellings.

2007 Tour Stops

Private homes
• The Eblen Home, Rick and Sherry Eblen. 411 W. First St.
• The Ford Home, Josh and Barb Ford. 1231 Hatteras Way (Rivercrest Condos)
• The Garber Courtney Home, Bob and Tammy Courtney. 733 W. Main St.
• The Scroggins Home, Charlie and Pam Scroggins. 121 St. Michaels St.
• The Flanigan Estate, Doni and Terry Flanigan. 1120 Michigan Rd.
• The First Baptist Church, 416 Vine St.
• The Seifert-Short Doll Museum and Learning Center, 301 S. Broadway (Hospitality Site)
• Madison Mercantile, 220 W. Main St. (Hospitality Site)

Public Sites:
• Lanier State Historic Site, 511 W. First St.
• Lanier-Schofield House, 217 W. Second St.
• Judge Jeremiah Sullivan House, 304 W. Second St.
• Jefferson County Historical Society, 615 W. First St.

The two sides of the building have housed many families throughout its long history. Built in the 1830s, the structure originally had three rooms on each side, including a kitchen, a sitting room and a bedroom, which were heated by large fireplaces. Bathroom facilities were added much later on.
The Scroggins acquired the building from Pam’s aunt Jeannette Warren, a spinster who lived on St. Michael’s Street her entire life. She purchased the building in 1964; it was just up the street from where she had been living. Apparently, prior to the building of the Markland Dam, houses along St. Michaels Street flooded each year when the Ohio River rose. Warren got tired of dealing with that, so she moved just beyond where the waters usually rose.
“I remember the flooding when I was a kid living on St. Michael’s Street,” said Pam. “It was something we just dealt with and never thought much about.”
When Warren passed, the property became the Scroggins, who wanted to restore the building as close to its original state as they could. “We didn’t really have a clue what we were doing,” she said. “The preservation experts and our neighbor, Jim McConchie, were invaluable helpers.”
The poplar hardwood floors throughout the building are original, as are the walls, windows, doors and woodwork. “We spent quite a bit of time scraping and peeling linoleum and paint off of the floors,” Scroggins recalled. “Someone had previously painted the floor orange along the edges where the linoleum ended, and that was tough to get up.” Most of the physical work was done by the couple, with their children and a cousin, Bill Scroggins, helping out.
In addition to the restorations, the Scroggins opened the attic across the building to add two bedrooms, which are only accessible on their side. Originally, the attic could only be accessed from the outside of the structure. However, they found a staircase from a nearby historic home and installed it on the inside of their home for interior access to the upstairs. “Oh, we were thrilled when we found that staircase,” Scroggins said. It was black when they first found it, but after careful refinishing, they discovered the stairs were actually made of gorgeous cherry wood.
Tour visitors will enjoy the tasteful décor and the antique treasures and historic family photographs in the Scroggins side of the duplex. They will wind their way through to the other side of the duplex where they will see marks left above the mantle to designate where the floodwaters of the tragic 1937 Ohio River flood reached. Small marks were placed to show how long it took for the water to totally recede.
In conjunction with the Candlelight Tour of Homes, a progressive dinner, Nights & Nibbles will be held. During the dinner, guests will visit several dining facilities and enjoy a course in a meal. For example, wine and cheese will be served at one establishment, while visitors will enjoy soup at the next place.
The cost of Nights & Nibbles is $50 per person, which includes a several-course dinner, transportation, a Candlelight Tour ticket and gratuities.

• For more information, call (812) 265-2956 or visit: www.nightsbeforechristmas.com.

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