OXFORD — The Oxford Community Center will present a Holiday Tour of Historic Homes and Inns from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8.
The tour features six houses built between 1739 and 1955, representing many years of Oxford history and the height of maritime prosperity. Along with three historic inns and the John Wesley Church, the tour creates an afternoon of history, architecture, art, antiques and traditions.
Tour sites will be decorated for the holiday season. Refreshments will be served.
The Oxford Community Center will provide a program with a photograph and information on all 10 tour sites to help visitors take a journey back through time. The tour provides a once in a lifetime opportunity to visit privately owned historic homes, enjoy holiday sweets at historic inns and visit the recently restored John Wesley Church, organizers said.
The Academy House, owned by Chuck McIntosh and Deborah Barbour, is one of Oxford’s most prominent dwellings. Built circa 1850, it was the Maryland Military Institute superintendent’s residence and remained in the Bratt family until 1965. The house is furnished with fine antiques and collectibles, and the yard is surrounded by an Oxford white picket fence.
Combsberry Inn, Abbey Rose, innkeeper, is an English manor house, circa 1730, situated on a former tobacco plantation. It features a rare stair tower, comfortable furnishings and a water view. It has been said that General Lee and his troops camped on the grounds during the Civil War. The house is laid in all-header bond, which is very rare in Talbot County.
The Henning House, owned by Madge Henning and Warren Davis, was built in 1995. With an “old feel” and views of the boatyard across the street, the home features gardens and German antiques.
John Wesley Church originally was built in 1838 by Methodist Episcopal abolitionists. It is unclear what happened to the original building but in 1876, the existing church was constructed and in 1877 sold to the Oxford Colored Methodist Episcopal Church for $150. In the 1990s, the buildings were abandoned and continued to deteriorate until a grassroots effort to rehabilitate the church as a heritage site began in 2003. Over the past 10 years, much of the building and cemetery have undergone extensive restoration and the site has been archaeologically documented.
Robert Morris Inn, Mark Salter, innkeeper, was built prior to 1710 and purchased in 1730 by an English trading company for Robert Morris Sr. Its construction includes handmade nails, 14-inch square beams fastened with hand-hewn pegs and fireplaces built of brick made in England and used as ship ballast.
Ruffled Duck Inn, Joyce and Dennis Buttner, innkeepers, was built in 1876. The three second-floor guest rooms have yachting themes, canopy beds or nautical appointments. The common room features original art throughout and an Art Deco style painted mural. Built in the American foursquare style, the home demonstrates 19th century charm.
Victorian Domestic Architecture, home of David Urbani, features Victorian domestic architecture with wood floors and 10-foot ceilings. The home was restored several years ago by previous owners and now features Persian carpets and orginial art. The owner is a woodworker and has made 75 percent of the furniture.
Waterman’s Cottage, owned by Brian and Julie Wells, is an 1880s waterman’s cottage decorated in magnolia wreaths and trimmings. The home survived a chimney fire in November of 2005 and after restoration by the current owners, received Best Exterior by This Old House magazine in 2011. The 1½-story cottage features ‘reveals’ under plexiglass of a Dutchman’s joint, balloon-style framing and an old signature in concrete.
William Seth Store, owned by David Poe and Connie Vaught, is featured on the cover of “Oxford Treasures, Then and Now,” written by Douglas Hanks Jr. The property was built circa 1850 and used as a store for many years. In recent years, the home has been updated to take advantage of gardens and a view of the Tred Avon River. Around the Christmas tree, visitors will find David’s first Lionel Train, “a treasure from his childhood,” said Connie Vaught.
1870 Elegance, is the home of John and Wendy Pagenstecher. Built in the 1870s, the home features extensive art items including a quilted piece crafted from the Civil War era skirts of John’s great-grandmother that is showcased in the entry hall; tapestries created during the late 1800s featuring Peter the Great being saved by his mother and Catherine of Aragon with Cardinal Woolsey; family portraits from the 1700s of the Pagenstecher family; nautical art, models, and antiques.
Advance tickets may be purchased at a discount for $25 by mailing payments to the Oxford Community, P.O. Box 308, Oxford, MD 21654. Credit card purchases are accepted at 410-226-5904. Tickets are $35 at the door.