The Governor Wolf Historical Society is proud to announce they will be holding the 37th Annual Christmas House Tour on Saturday, December 2. The tour features seven private, historic homes in Bath and the surrounding countryside. The theme for this year’s tour is “Coverlets – A Warm Christmas.” Finish your day at the society’s Wolf Academy Historic Site with a free Colonial Family fun day featuring hearth cooking, demonstrations, colonial crafts, museum, carolers, crafts for children, raffle, display of antique coverlets, greens for sale, and food by Daily Grind.
Each week The Home News will feature one of the historic houses on the tour.
The third featured house came very close to being demolished in 2008. Christ Church had purchased the 1813 stone Joseph Steckel House with that intention over 30 years prior. They enjoyed many years of rent, but had evicted the tenant due to too many needed repairs and now the building was declared uninhabitable. One roof hole had resulted in rotted wood beams and floor all the way to the basement. But because of the Bath Historic District and their location on S. Chestnut Street they reconsidered and offered the building for sale. Darrin and Carol Heckman purchased the building and Darrin did the land development plans, the meetings with zoning, planning and council and the subdivision. Because of difficulty connecting to the storm sewer, they put in a state-of-the-art brick paver infiltration parking lot to be shared by the church and the Joseph Steckel House.
The first step was to demolish the garage and the small frame addition of the rear of the house. The aluminum coverings on the two front doors were removed to discover that the left door had originally been a window. The threshold of the original door is stone and the left newer threshold is slate. A new roof was put on and the chimneys were rebuilt with a more appropriate shape. The original attic windows were refurbished and the remaining windows were replaced with 12-over-12 aluminum-clad wood windows. The window cutouts in the original front door were filled in with appropriate wood panels. The surrounds of both doors were recreated styled after similar period buildings in the area. The stone was repointed with off-white raised V mortar, similar to period homes in the area. Outside the electric lines to the house were removed and the power runs underground.
Inside, no original walls were altered or removed. The wide pine plank floors were exposed on the first and second floor. All four fireplaces were made functioning again with either gas or wood-burning logs. The chimney cupboards and brick hearths were restored as well. Inside 95% of the walls are the original restored plaster walls.
In September 2012 Dawn Eagle moved into the first floor from Bethlehem, encouraged by her mother Jeanne. Shortly thereafter, Jeanne left Easton and moved into the second floor. And team Eagle has been roosting in Bath ever since.
The Joseph Steckel House was the first building on S. Chestnut Street in Bath to be restored. The impact has had a ripple effect on the neighborhood. Since its completion, the church, the parsonage, the hotel and six other buildings have all undergone some degree of restoration.
Tickets for the tour go on sale November 11. They are $25 in advance and $30 the day of the tour. They are on sale at Bath Drug, S. Seem Antiques in Bath, Curt’s Cyclery in Nazareth, Miller Supply Ace Hardware in Allen Township and Snow Goose Gallery in Bethlehem.
Tickets are for sale the day of the tour at the society’s historic site at 6600 Jacksonville Road, Bath just off Route 512, three miles north of Route 22, between Bethlehem and Bath.
For further information, call 610-837-9015.