Deirdre Sheer-Gross and Bill Hedges relax in a screened porch that Gary Ulrich Construction added to the Richardson-Harris-Counts home at 173 Avenue B, which was the featured home on the tour. The porch overlooks a yard landscaped by Tallahassee Nurseries, featuring Chinese fan palms, live oaks and tall magnolias. “This house belongs to Apalachicola’s history,” said Sheerr-Gross. Bill and I feel it’s our turn to enjoy and care for it. In fact, we realize we’re just passing through.” [ David Adlerstein | The Times ]

Home tour enchants city’s visitors

It was a glorious day to take in some of Apalachicola’s most historic homes, and to enjoy the many enhancements that have been made by their newest owners.

A large number of people took in the Historic Apalachicola Home and Garden Tour Saturday, the annual event for the past three decades sponsored by Trinity Episcopal Church.

The Sylvia Pennington House at 108 Avenue I has been furnished with a collection of Southern and regional art by owner Molly Wilson. The house was restored to years ago by Peter Schetter, an artist and former ballet dancer who lived in Vermont, and is named after an original owner, likely a former slave from North Carolina, who bought the property in 1877 for $75. The painting above the fireplace shown here is by Tallahassee artis “Missionary” Mary Proctor. [ David Adlerstein | The Times ]

“It was an incredible day,” said Sabrina Fornes, the tour chair. “Around 850 toured the homes and community garden and shopped our auction and sale at Trinity Episcopal Church. 

Among the newly added features to the Joseph A. Messina House at 33 Ninth Street, is a “Catio,” a feeding area connected through a passage into the home owned by Eastpoint veterinarian Tara Roberts and husband Michael. The Roberts did extensive work to preserve the house and to add a sleeping loft and adjoining bathrooms to a boat barn and party house they had built next door. [ David Adlerstein | The Times ]

“We are grateful to all who purchased a ticket and to those in our community who made it a success, specifically our volunteers, donors, and homeowners. Without them, there would be no tour,” she said.

The Matt Raiford House, at 156 6th Street, now features two bedrooms and baths upstairs, added by Ashley Willis after Pam Richardson and Peter Gallant had rescued it from demolition. The present owners, Diane and David Peck, have put in the kitchen three wooden tables from a dry goods store they owned in Tallapoosa, Georgia,, and on the porch a cypress table made by Dave. [ David Adlerstein | The Times ]

Proceeds from the tour will go towards continued preservation of the church, which dates to 1839; to the rectory, which dates back to 1900; and to Benedict Hall, which dates back to 1932. In addition, a portion is directed to assist in meeting the needs of Franklin County through the Outreach Ministry of Trinity.

Gwen and Reg Corbett, who purchased the Valentine Hoffman House at 47 11th Street four years ago, made some changes that included separating off the dining room from the kitchen, and adding antiques and art that speak to Gwen’s career in interior design and Reg’s skills in yacht building project management. [ David Adlerstein | The Times ]

The silent auction featured a whole host of items, including an assortment of glassware and other vintage home interior items. 

The raffle for “A Day at the Derby,” which featured a Mud River Bottle Tote, gift certificate for bourbon and a host of amenities such as julep cups and an ice bucket, was won by Ralph Roberson.

Charles Hart, the newest owner of the Gaines House, at 87 Avenue D, has removed a wall that had once separated the galley-style kitchen, and now has plans to return the front entrance to what had been the side of the house, up until the 1920s. [ David Adlerstein | The Times ]

Seven homes were featured on the tour, which opened Friday with an Evensong service followed by a reception in Gorrie Square.

The living room is spacious of the Uriah M. Wright House, at 115 Bay Avenue, which sits above a gentle rise composed of three lots overlooking Apalachicola Bay. The home is owned by Sue and Lee Whitely, who are originally from Maine. [ David Adlerstein | The Times ]

The homes included:

  • The Richardson-Harris-Counts House, the featured home at 173 Avenue B
  • The Uriah M. Wright House, at 115 Bay Ave.
  • The Joseph A. Messina House, at 33 Ninth St.
  • The Valentine Hoffman House, at 47 11th St.
  • The Gaines House, at 87 Avenue D
  • The Sylvia Pennington House, at 108 Avenue I
  • The Matt Raiford House
  • The Apalachicola City Square Community Garden

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Meet the Editor

David Adlerstein, The Apalachicola Times’ digital editor, started with the news outlet in January 2002 as a reporter.

Prior to then, David Adlerstein began as a newspaperman with a small Boston weekly, after graduating magna cum laude from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He later edited the weekly Bellville Times, and as business reporter for the daily Marion Star, both not far from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

In 1995, he moved to South Florida, and worked as a business reporter and editor of Medical Business newspaper. In Jan. 2002, he began with the Apalachicola Times, first as reporter and later as editor, and in Oct. 2020, also began editing the Port St. Joe Star.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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