Marion home tour will feature historic structures

Tammy Ensey (right ) accepts the well-wishes of a friend during the open house event of the Historic Elgin Hotel on Saturday. Tammy and husband Jeremy will be opening the refurbished Elgin to the public, as well as their personal home, for the annual Marion City Library Christmas Home Tour Sunday, Dec. 4. The tour also includes the homes of Chuck and Lori McLinden and Ed and Cheri Wheeler.The Marion City Library is sponsoring its annual Christmas Home Tour from 1-5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4, with the theme, “A Jane Austen Christmas.”

Three homes and the Historic Elgin Hotel will be featured on the tour, said Janet Marler, library director. Tickets are $5 each; they are available at the library or can be purchased at the homes the day of the tour.

“This year, history seems to be the common factor,” she said. “With house being built in the 1880s or having a rich family past that has carried over, (tour guests) will definitely feel the presence and beauty of the past.”

In addition to the Elgin Hotel, the following homeowners will be welcoming the public: Larry and Melanie Ensey, Chuck and Lori McLinden and Ed and Cheri Wheeler, she said.

Nativity scenes from various owners will be on display in the Elgin Hotel ball­room.

Many memories

The Flint Hills provide the backdrop for the farm home owned by Larry and Melanie Ensey, Marler said.

“It’s a spectacular view where people can sit on the patio, enjoy the quiet and watch the chickens,” she said. “Melanie grew up in this home with her sisters and brothers.”

Tour guests will see family heirlooms passed down through both families, and renovations enhancing the home, Marler said.

Melanie Ensey’s Christ­mas decorations are a mix of family ornaments and keepsakes from both sides of the family.

“The Enseys started restoring the original oak floors and removing the paneling in the house, which led to the total renovation of the downstairs and adding on a garage and a man cave,” she said.

The kitchen was remodeled with glass cabinets to show the antique apple dishes that belonged to Larry Ensey’s grandmother, Marler said. In the hallway is a 1911 light fixture from a previous house and a chandelier and table in the dining room belonging to his parents.

“The piano, after being moved, still sits where it originally did when Melanie Ensey was home,” she said. “The stone fireplace still stands prominently in the living room and the Enseys still burn wood in it.”

As guests tour the garage there is a unique room full of animals, furs and Larry Ensey’s collections.

Alive and well

The Historic Elgin Hotel, built in 1886, is three stories built in limestone, Marler said.

“In the beginning, the hotel had 42 rooms, a dining room seating 80 guests, billiards and card rooms for the men guests,” she said.

The interior of the hotel ranges from the woodwork and details in the flooring to the furniture and ceiling, she added.

The owners, Jeremy and Tammy Ensey, converted the third floor into family suites with a kitchen, big screen television and library/sitting room available entertaining guests and others.

“Tammy Ensey plans on decorating with a huge Christmas tree in the ballroom area,” Marler said. “Garland will cascade on the staircase railing with a Christmas feeling throughout the entire hotel.”

Nativity scenes will be on display in the ballroom, and throughout the hotel.

Marler said the Enseys are excited to start a new adventure as owners of the Elgin. They plan to promote and enhance the facility.

Western theme

Chuck and Lori McLin­den’s home dates back to 1942, when his grandparents lived in part of the house. In 1951, the McLindens moved the existing house across the lane road and added on to it.

“Chuck and Lori moved into the home in 1999 and began their own remodeling in 2006,” she said. “Chuck’s grandparents are evident throughout the house with a picture of Bud’s boots, his spurs with initials on them, his chaps and the dining room table, which expands to seat over 14.”

It won’t take long for guests to see the McLindens are cowboys and ranchers, given the western theme throughout the house, she said.

Lori McLinden, who enjoys painting, will have pieces of her artwork on display, including Christmas projects on pallets and ceramics.

“They have three Christ­mas trees on display,” Marler said. “One has western ornaments, including boots and crosses, one with sports and one with family memory ornaments.”

Another feature of the home is their brand “4M” inlaid into the tile floor, she added.

Situated in the rural Flint Hills, the view outside is pastures, cattle and horses.

First library

Ed and Cheri Wheeler’s home was built in 1886, the same year as the Elgin Hotel.

A wall of bookshelves in the sitting room on the third floor, represent the first library in Marion, Marler said. Tea parties were offered on the second floor veranda by the two sisters who lived there.

“The home has a circular iron staircase leading to the third floor and wooden steps up to the cupola,” she said. “The porch was rebuilt and made larger during World War I.”

As tour guests walk up to the Wheeler house, they will see a breezeway that leads to sitting areas on the patio and under the pergola, Marler said.

The house was totally remodeled, but the Wheelers kept the integrity of the historic home, while making it functional for their lifestyle.

“The floors are back to the original hardwood,” Marler said. “A buffet and library table are both refinished from Cheri Wheeler’s childhood, and in one bedroom she has her grandparents’ bedroom suite from when they were first married.”

The home is full of antiques and family heirlooms from both sides of the family. On display are artwork, figurines, glassware and collectibles from their travels and missions, according to Marler.

Refreshments will be served at the library, 101 Library St., and Collective Books—formerly Books are Fun—will have a display of books and gift items available for purchase.

For more information, call the library at 620-382-2442.

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