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Statham Christmas Tour of Homes set for Saturday

STATHAM - Some of Statham's oldest and most attractive homes will open to the public from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday for the city's second annual Christmas Tour of Homes. The event is free.

"It is our Christmas spirit and our gift to the community," said Bess Barton, who organized the event both this year and last.

Barton's home at 1931 Broad St. will be featured on the tour. Although it celebrates its 100th birthday this month, she said, it is one of the youngest homes on the tour.

"The mayor's home is the youngest," Barton said. "All the rest are at least 15 and 20 years older than mine."

The blue Barton home resting under heavy shade trees has come a long way since the Barton family purchased it 21 years ago. Its story is representative of several of the homes on the tour.

"We bought the house as a derelict," Barton said. "It would have frightened Frankenstein. It was in foreclosure and hardly had indoor plumbing. Cracked plaster, broken windows, you name it."

With a mighty job ahead of her, Barton hired a contractor and took a one-year course at Gwinnett Technical College in home building. While her class constructed a home from the ground up, Barton oversaw the slow process of bringing her decrepit jewel back to life.

"We had vivid imaginations," she said. "It took three or four years to complete renovations."

The Barton Home stands on the site of Statham's former post office and general store. Those buildings were demolished in 1906, Barton said.

Most businesses in town, including Statham's three antique stores, will open for the event, provide refreshments and give away prizes.

SideBar: If you go

What: Statham's 2nd Annual Christmas Tour of Homes

Where: Downtown Statham. Tour starts at City Hall, 327 Jefferson St.

When: 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday

Cost: Free

Homes on tour

' The Warren House - 1899 Broad St.

' The Krebs House - 299 1st St.

' The Bridges House - 218 2nd St.

' The First Baptist Church - Broad St.

' The Lee House - 1948 Broad St.

' The Barton House - 1931 Broad St.

More homes might be added closer to the tour date.