Nine local homes and buildings will deck their halls and open their doors from 1-5 p.m. Sunday as part of the Richmond Hill 2011 Holiday Tour of Homes.
The tour, which is held biennially, provides the community with the chance to explore its own backyard.
Tour organizer Teresa Timmons, who has orchestrated the last five tours, said she believes the event is an opportunity for residents to get to know the city they live in.
“This helps the individual in the community see places they’ve never been allowed to visit, or never thought to,” she said. “There’s so much history here, just waiting for people to experience.”
Highlights of this year’s tour will include several Henry Ford-era structures, including the Ford Mansion, St. Anne Catholic Church, the Richmond Hill Museum and the Bailey Carpenter Barber Shop.
The Ford Mansion, which is being featured on the tour for the first time in recent memory, was the winter estate of famed industrialist Henry Ford. The stately brick home is framed by live oaks and overlooks the banks of the Ogeechee River.
St. Anne Catholic Church also traces its roots back to Ford. The New England-style chapel is one of six nearly identical churches around the country built by Henry and Clara Ford to honor the memory of their mothers, Martha Bryant and Mary Ford.
Also on the tour, the Richmond Hill Museum was built by Ford to serve as a local kindergarten. Now home to the Richmond Hill Historical Society, the museum boasts several exhibits depicting local history. All exhibits will be open during the tour.
Next door to the museum is the Bailey Carpenter Barber Shop. Ford patronized the one-room shop, and it still features the antique chair and fixtures originally purchased by Ford.
In addition to the Ford-era buildings, the tour will feature three privately owned homes, Magnolia Manor on the Coast and Bryan Neck Presbyterian Church, which is the oldest public building in Bryan County.
All locations will be decorated for the holidays.
The tour is self-guided, so guests will be required to arrange their own transportation for all locations excluding the Ford Mansion. A bus will depart for the Ford Mansion from the Richmond Hill Museum every half-hour.
Tickets are $30 in advance and can be purchased at the museum. The cost includes an afternoon tea at St. Anne Catholic Church and an exhibit of Richmond High School students’ artwork at Magnolia Manor on the Coast.
All proceeds will benefit the nonprofit sponsors of the tour: Richmond Hill Garden Club; Friends of the Library; Richmond Hill Historical Society; Arts on the Coast; and the St. Anne Council of Catholic Women.
For more information, visit www. RichmondHillTourofHomes.com.