Several historic homes and a church in Lincolnton will be featured in the Speak Up For Children Holiday Tour of Homes on Friday. This event offers a unique opportunity to view the inside of these private homes, as well as the historic church, all decked out for the holidays. The tour is self-guided, and each location will have volunteers to provide additional information about each home. 

Most of the homes on this year’s tour are in the downtown Lincolnton area. 

The Hopkins-Tallent residence, which is on East Pine Street, is the home of Doug and Gena Tallent. The interior of this beautiful house retains many original features that date to the time of the house’s construction in ca. 1893, mixed with details that date from the 1920s, when the Hopkins family expanded the house to two stories. It is reported that the house had the first plumbed bathtub in Lincoln County. When the news was spread that the house had a plumbed bathtub, visitors, even strangers, appeared at the door asking to see this wonderful invention. In 2012 the Hopkins House was designated as a Lincoln County Local Historic Landmark. 

Built in 1906, the Saine-Rudisill House on West Main Street is a part of the West Main Street Historic District that was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2003. It is owned by Ed and Emma House and is the home of Eva House. Filled with lovely antiques, many of which were collected by former owners, the Elmores, the graceful home takes one back to another period. The home has been the site of many social and community gatherings and continues to be used for such.

“I grew up in an old house on Congress Street and love old houses,” Eva House said. “It needed a lot of work on things that you can’t see like electrical, plumbing, foundation. We haven’t done much on it cosmetically.”

The mantels, which are stunningly decorated for the holidays, all have a special story to be told about them. The foyer mantel is from Lincolnton’s first postmaster’s home. The one located in the parlor is original to the house. In the dining room is a mantel from an early 1800s home in Raleigh, which is now a sorority house for North Carolina State University. The other original mantel is in the sitting room.

All of the decorating in this house was done by the “Little Women,” Gail and Doris Little.

There’s a loft on the tour this year on East Main Street. It’s the home of Wayne and Tayler and sits above a retail property. The entire property once housed the Rivoli Theater, built in 1920. The theater remained open until the 1950s. The loft retains the beautiful brick walls and makes use of every inch of the space. The carefully chosen furnishings work to enhance the historic features in the loft. There’s a beautiful view of Main Street and Court Square from the deck. 

The Burris-Downey property on Saddletree Road is the home of artist, Donna Downey. The home was built in 1976 by the Wayne Burris family. The property has become Downey’s home, art studio, gallery and classrooms. The artist's paintings are featured throughout the home. This house is an architectural masterpiece. Nestled into 23 acres, featuring dramatic roof lines, the 7,000-square-foot house is considered a split-level home and features massive windows and skylights. Wide, reclaimed exposed timber beams and trusses, gathered from old buildings slated for demolition, frame the expansive ceilings throughout the house. 

The First United Methodist Church on East Main Street is on the tour this year. Construction of the current church building began in 1919 and progressed quickly on the new building, its imposing appearance being the subject of much interest to the community, specifically due to the large dome on top and the tall stained-glass windows. By the end of July 1920, the building was completed. In 1994, the First Methodist Church, as well as the old cemetery on the corner of South Aspen Street and West Congress Street, were listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This coming year marks the 100th birthday of this beautiful building. 

An extensive display of Nativity scenes from all over the World are on display at the church annex, right beside the main building. 

“They’re from many countries and made from wood to paper, glass, metal, oyster shells, felt, corn husks to stone,” congregation member Carol King said. “The sanctuary will be decorated with red poinsettias and the Chrismon tree. There will be music playing there as well.”

Pastor Tony Matthews said that he particularly enjoys seeing how these figures are portrayed by different cultures. He has a piece in the collection he obtained from Peru.

Refreshments and bathrooms will be available at the church

Proceeds raised from this benefit will be used to provide aid to Lincoln County foster children. 

“Speak Up For Children is a nonprofit that was started by Lincoln County guardians ad litem,” Jill Eaddy who is the Speak Up For Children vice president said. “As guardian ad litem, you can’t give the children anything or do anything for them, so we started the nonprofit so we could give them opportunities and materials that would help them to have more normal lives.”

The money raised by Speak Up For Children is used for things like sending foster children to summer camp, purchasing clothing and other items. 

“The foster parents, frankly, don’t get enough money for keeping them to do these extra things and the Department of Social Services doesn’t have the money,” Eaddy said. “They provide the basics, but we try to do these things that normally wouldn’t be available to them.” 

Transportation is not provided, and the homes are not handicap accessible. Children without tickets won’t be admitted nor will children in strollers or being carried by an adult. No animals, including service animals, will be permitted.

Ticket prices are $20 in advance and $25.00 at the door. They may be purchased online at or in person at the following locations the Lincolnton Cultural Center, Home Place Restaurant, on Highway 27 West, Amy’s Closet, on North Highway 16 in Denver, 7th Moon Boutique and Treasures on Main, both in uptown Lincolnton.

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