Holiday Tour of Homes spans Rusk

by By Cristin Parker

A little piece of Rusk’s history got a new home for Christmas last week – just in time for the annual Rusk Christmas Tour of Homes, too.

Thanks to the work of a crew of volunteers, the historical 1910’s old Moseley Drug Store fountain bar was moved to the new Eagles Nest wing of the Heritage Center of Cherokee County, from its former home in a building on the corner of Fifth and Main streets in downtown Rusk.

“The fountain was donated to the museum back in the mid-80s, was stored somewhere on the square and then put in the Babcock Building on loan,” museum curator Betty Marcontell said. “Who knew when we started this Eagles Nest project that this was the fountain’s new home.”

Marcontell and volunteers have been working on the Eagles’ Nest exhibit since Oct. 9. And since the Heritage Center is returning to the annual Tours of Homes this year, now’s the time to see the results of all the hard work.

Rusk High School Senior Finale committee will be sponsoring the Christmas Tour of Homes on Sunday, Dec. 9.

The tour will be open to the public from 1 to 4 p.m. Tickets for the Tour of Homes are $10 each, will be available at any featured venue the day of the tour and are good for all five properties. Light refreshments may be served at participating tour spots. Proceeds of this year’s tour benefits the 2018-19 Rusk Senior Finale, RISD’s annual graduation party.

“We are pleased to announce these beautiful Rusk homes and businesses on our Christmas tour this year,” tour organizer Shonda Williams posted on her Facebook page on Sunday. “Enjoy the festive decor and gathering of friends and neighbors as we celebrate the season by supporting our Eagles!”

Three homes and two non-residential locations make up the tour this year. They are the home of Don and Jane Parsons, 17622 U.S. Highway 84 East; the home of Shanna and Ken Ferrara, 182 CR 1331, Rusk; and the home of Darla Moore, 1110 FM 23W; the Heritage Center of Cherokee County, 208 S. Henderson St.; and The Children’s Clinic of Rusk, 1375 Dickinson St.

The Parsons’ home features a handmade, stone fireplace with matching flooring under the bar area as well as lots of handcrafted woodwork throughout the home.

“We’re really proud of all the custom woodwork in the house,” Jane Parsons said. “I grew up in Rusk and when we retired from Houston, we just moved home again. We had this home built five years ago by local builder Ryan Mabry and couldn’t be happier.”

Parsons said while the home will be decorated to the nines for Christmas, she didn’t really go with a theme this year.

“We’ve got lots of collections of cookie jars, Nativity scenes, Christmas sets, Santas,” she said. “All the things we love like the stockings I made me and Don 52 years ago -- just all things Christmas.”

The Ferraras’ home, a 7-year-old two-story country farm house, boasts a Victorian country decoration theme this year.

“I’m doing a lot in a more traditional Christmas flavor,” Shanna Ferrara said. “A lot of the black and red plaid and that kind of thing. But I love Elf on the Shelf, too, so that’ll be incorporated in areas, as well.

“My dad’s favorite time was Christmas and it was very important to him to decorate for the holiday – to help build our excitement as kids. That’s what I try to do for my kids, too – keep that tradition alive, the way Dad would’ve done.”

Ferrara said her décor will also feature as many as nine Christmas trees – four big ones and five smaller ones, some with a coordinating theme and some with a theme all its own.

“My son is a huge Patriots fan, so he’ll have a Patriot themed tree of his very own,” Ferrara said.

Ferrara said one of the home’s architectural attractions that frequently gets comments from visitors is the crown-molding.

“We have tons of crown molding and people really seem to enjoy it,” she said. “Not a lot of houses come with those types of details anymore.”

The Ferrara home also includes two fireplaces, a music room complete with a baby grand piano, a game room and a cathedral-type entry-way and living room combo with a ceiling spanning the home’s full 20-foot height.

The third residence on the Tour of Home this year belongs to Darla Moore and family.

The second non-residential location on the tour this year, the Children’s Clinic of Rusk is new to the tour this year.

“We’re extremely proud to be a part of the Tour this year,” Patient Service Representative Melissa Matlock said. “We will have been open for a year on the 18th, so we’re excited to show off our new building. We invite everyone to come out and tour the facility, enjoy some refreshments, and meet some new friends.”

The clinic is decorated in a winter wonderland theme with lots of snowmen, Matlock said.