The Christmas season is filled with traditional expressions, gifts and events, including tours of historic homes that add a touch of nostalgia and charm to the season.
The Parker County Candlelight Tour is celebrating its 40th anniversary on Saturday, Dec. 9 with six captivating homes built between 1889 and 1939. The featured home is the majestic Campbell-Watson home, which sits on a high hill in the center of town.
Built in 1902 by a hardware merchant named Carter, the Campbell-Watson home is named after a prominent physician, Dr. Campbell, who purchased the home around World War I and lived there until his death. Weatherford’s Campbell Memorial Hospital carried his name until 2008.
The early 20th century was marked by a diverse range of architectural styles, including Victorian, Colonial, Revival and Craftsman. Homes like the Campbell-Watson featured elaborate woodwork, decorative details and unique design elements that reflect the preferences of that time.
The home sits on several acres, outlined by original iron fencing. Current owners Steve and Lisa Watson spent four years restoring the home to its original grandeur after purchasing it in 1996. The home was mostly well preserved but needed refreshing. The couple went to great lengths to revive the home using the same techniques and styles of its original period.
For instance, when the Watsons purchased the home, the former owner had completely modernized the kitchen. The Watsons replaced the floor with antique wood, tore out the dropped ceiling that had been added, and hired master craftsman Kevin Barker from Heritage Carving to build new cabinetry to match the rest of the home. The cabinetry may be new but it’s nothing short of magnificent with decorative woodwork and glass cabinets to the ceiling.
As for the rest of the home, most rooms have original flooring, and most have some type of inlay or pattern. Some of the rooms have clay tiles that were shipped from England when the house was originally built. Although wallpaper was replaced throughout the home, the original stenciling that borders several rooms was only retouched.
“The walls in the downstairs hallway were hand-painted and took over three months to complete,” said Lisa. It also took the couple several months to sand and revive the wood throughout the house. The couple spent a full year working on landscaping alone before they moved into the house. It was a true labor of love.
Antique kerosene chandeliers hang in nearly every room. They now run on electricity, but the couple is happy to demonstrate how the original lamps were lit.
The dining room, which has custom-built cabinetry, includes a chandelier that was created by the man who introduced spikes to the railroad. Each globe on the chandelier depicts scenes of wildlife in places the railroad traveled at that time.
The entire home is full of antiques the Watsons have picked up along the way. An antique barber’s chair sits near the claw-foot tub in the downstairs bathroom. Be on the lookout for unique antique fans, as well, in the kitchen, dining room and sitting areas. One is an antique funeral fan, another from a subway, and another from an old phone booth.
There are eight fireplaces in the home, many with original tile, grates and mantles. The home was updated to use gas logs, but beneath the home are tunnels, where the help once emptied ash from the fireplaces.
Lisa said the most challenging project was restoring the tin ceilings.
“Every room had something that needed to be replaced. We tried to keep it as original as possible, but some had rusted spots. So we had to order pieces and they actually came from the tin stamping company that made them originally,” she said.
A sitting area just off of the front entrance has a wooden roll-down door, and one of the parlors has a beautiful historical cabinet that is home to a Murphy bed that was used for visitors long ago.
The original staircase winds up to the second-story bedrooms. At the landing of the stairs, you will see a huge working pendulum clock.
Look closely and you’ll see that nearly every downstairs window is crowned with a stained glass panel, although the custom-made curtains conceal the stained glass in certain rooms.
The Watsons were not new to historic restoration when they purchased the home. It’s a longtime passion of theirs, and they’ve also restored a historic home in Mineral Wells, which is now owned by fellow restoration enthusiast Mark Rawlings. Rawlings is the head of construction over the renovation of the Baker Hotel in Mineral Wells.
About the Campbell-Watson home, Parker County Heritage Society chairperson Laura Roberts said, “It’s one of the most fabulous historically preserved homes in the area.”
The tour of homes, which runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., promotes and funds the preservation of historical sites and those of architectural significance in Parker County.
Additional sites that will be open during the tour:
• 402 W. Simmons, a homey Victorian farmhouse built in 1889. (Sponsor: Holland Lake Rehabilitation Center and Wellness Center)
• 201 West Rentz, a majestic of a home with elaborate details built in 1902. (Sponsor: Kimberly Benge- Photography and Recaptured Charm)
• 212 East Lee Street, once known as the Rose Garden Cottage, the Urbanology Cottage brings a mix of vintage charm with modern sophistication-one of a kind. (Sponsor: Lisa Jacobs-Williams Trew Real Estate)
• 110 South Walnut, a Queen Anne Victorian home built in 1896 in the heart of downtown Weatherford. (Sponsor: Citizens National Bank)
• 505 West Josephine Street, a stately brick 1939 Tudor. (Sponsor: Bodiford - Century 21 Judge Fite and Texas Bank)
• 413 West Lee Ave, a 1896 Victorian Home with architectural style, craftsmanship and cultural values of the past. (Sponsor: Alamo Title - Michelle Worthington and Remax Trinity)
• St. Stephen Chapel, 211 South Main Street. (Sponsor: PlainsCapital Bank)
• Doss Heritage and Cultural Center, 1400 Texas Drive. (Sponsor: Rosa’s Café)
• Chandor Gardens, 711 West Lee Avenue. The house will also be available for viewing. (Sponsor: Parker County Today)
Tickets, available at www.parkercountyheritagesociety.com, will be $20 for adults and $12 for children 12 and younger. Tickets purchased online can be picked up at the Doss Center, 1400 Texas Drive, Weatherford, on the day of the tour. You must bring proof of purchase.
You can also purchase tickets at the Weatherford Chamber of Commerce, located at 401 Fort Worth Highway, from now until 2 p.m. on the day of the tour.
The main sponsors for the tour are DRI Construction, First Bank of Texas, Texas Butane and Pee Wee Cray Used Cars.