The Ottumwa Courier

Wapello County

November 26, 2012

Kicking off the holiday season

Moravia Tour of Homes a family tradition for McDanels, Johnsons

MORAVIA — The Moravia Tour of Homes not only gets participants in the holiday spirit, it shows how the homes have changed through time from remodeling and moving.

The first tour of homes in Moravia was held in 1988, making this the 20th year for the event, since other activities were held instead for four years, such as a progressive dinner or buffet.

The town of Moravia was named for the religious sect of the same name in 1851.

“Families from Salem, N.C., established this town,” said Martha Ellison, a committee member. “They bought 40 acres from the Mormons, who were heading west. This is the only ‘Moravia’ west of the Mississippi [River].”

Today, the town of 665 people observes one of the Moravians’ traditions every year: the tour of homes.

“During Advent, they would travel from home to home and set up refreshments in the homes in the neighborhood and view their Christmas decorations,” Ellison said.

When the town began the tour of homes, the only other city in the area doing anything like it was Pella. Today, many more towns have started their own tour of homes, which have contributed to fewer people coming out to Moravia’s every year, Ellison said.

The Tour of Homes is normally held the Friday and Saturday of Thanksgiving week, but Ellison said the popularity of Black Friday shopping has affected turnout in recent years.

“For several years we had a Love Fest, too, which had the Moravian buns, which are like cinnamon rolls, and music,” she said.

The Moravian Star can also be seen throughout the community.

“It started out as a geometry project,” Ellison said.

The star was eventually adopted by the Moravian Church as a symbol of Advent.

“I would hope they become familiar with the town and know what the Moravian traditions are,” Ellison said of participants. “And they can get new ideas for decorating when they see the homes.”

The tour has become a family tradition for the McDanels and Johnsons. Matt and Brooke Johnson live just down the road from Brooke’s parents, Jody and Susan McDanel.

“Growing up, I always went with my mom on the tour,” Brooke said. “I know a lot of ladies in the church who went, and I know people have wanted to see my home.”

She said that interest is because of remodeling and new additions to the back of the house, and because people remember the house when it was situated a couple miles down the road past her parents’ house.

In fact, the daughter of the man who originally built Brooke’s house couldn’t wait to see what the Johnsons had done with her childhood home.

Olive Jean Tarbell’s father built the house for his new wife as a gift, she said. When the Johnsons eventually bought the home, a group of Amish carpenters moved it a couple miles down the road.

“I was born in that house,” Tarbell said while touring the McDanel home. “So I’m going to go home to see my house.”

The McDanels decorated with a “Holiday Home” theme, incorporating Santa Claus into every room.

Susan has helped friends decorate their homes in the past for the tour, but this was her first time participating herself.

“I usually put up decorations around Dec. 10 and take them down on the 26th,” Susan told guests.

Participants also enjoyed Tastee Tea, a visit from Santa Claus at City Hall, a tour with mules and wagons and more. All proceeds from the event will go toward Moravia Community Projects.

“I’m very thrilled to do it, because the money goes to a good cause,” Susan said. “And people are nice. It’s not like shopping on Black Friday. People are happy to be here. It’s a wonderful way to get ready for the holidays.”

Two other homes were also featured on the tour: Jill Prater, “A Quilted Christmas,” and Jimmy and Angela Stufflebeam, “Rock’n S Ranch Winter Wonderland.”

1
Text Only
Wapello County
  • 0417 OTT Beth Howard color cover -L -T -M 'Ms. American Pie' tours with her new book

    ELDON — With many hours and countless miles on her RV "The Beast," Eldon's pie lady, Beth Howard, is celebrating the release of her new book with a tour of southwestern states. Howard's second book, "Ms. American Pie: Buttery Good Pie Recipes and Bol

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • County signs law enforcement agreement with Eddyville OTTUMWA — A law enforcement service contract between Wapello County and the city of Eddyville received supervisors' approval on Tuesday. Beginning July 1, Eddyville will pay the Wapello County Sheriff’s office $3,833 per month or $45,996 for law enfo

    April 15, 2014

  • County considers hiring conservation aide OTTUMWA — On Tuesday morning, Wapello County Board of Supervisors will consider hiring a part-time conservation aide at its weekly board meeting. The meeting will be at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday in the board’s meeting room located on the third floor of the c

    April 11, 2014

  • 0412 OTT Brush fire color photo 2 -T Brush fire breaks out on east side of city OTTUMWA — Late Friday morning, a fire broke out in a vacant area of trees and brush next to the Ottumwa Water Pollution Control Facility. Both the Wapello County Rural Fire Department and Ottumwa Fire Department were called to the scene of the fire,

    April 11, 2014 3 Photos

  • Wapello County Courthouse.jpg Courthouse to receive facelift

    OTTUMWA — First, Chief Wapello received a facelift. Now, it’s the county courthouse’s turn. On Tuesday evening, Wapello County Board of Supervisors approved spending $139,000 for repair and maintenance of the historic courthouse. Karr Tuckpointing o

    April 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • Another health care option OTTUMWA — If you didn't get your "mandatory" health insurance by the deadline earlier this week, you may have another option. Or two. "I'd certainly keep trying," said Greg Kenning, a Wapello County supervisor. He said it's his understanding that the

    April 2, 2014

  • Trial set in child pornography case OTTUMWA — The Ottumwa man accused in a child pornography case will go on trial this summer. Rass Kerby Jr., is charged with enticing a minor to engage in a sex act or simulated sex act and possession of media of a minor engaged in a sex act. He was a

    April 2, 2014

  • Wanted: People who love history OTTUMWA — If you have a love for history, Wapello County has an interest in you. Wapello County Board of Supervisors is considering withdrawing from the State Historical Society’s Certified Local Government program unless interested people are willin

    April 1, 2014

  • 0530 OTT flood damaged bridge -L Bridge repair tops county's 5-year plan

    OTTUMWA — Road construction in Wapello County will be taking on a different look in the next three years. On Tuesday, County Engineer Brian Moore told the Wapello County Board of Supervisors bridge replacement will be a high priority. “We’ll have a h

    April 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0321 OTT animal rescue league update color photo -L -M Animal van trial set

    OTTUMWA — Trial has been scheduled in the case that preceded the rescue of hundreds of animals in Drakesville. Roger Blew, 45, of Drakesville, has pleaded not guilty to the four criminal charges he faced in Ottumwa. Police charged Blew with one count

    March 20, 2014 1 Photo

Obituaries
Record
Facebook
AP National