New Castle News

Local News

December 3, 2013

Homes for the holidays: Ellwood City house tour provides doses of Christmas cheer

NEW CASTLE — One was a stagecoach stop and tavern. Another is 87 years old. The third is more contemporary.

But the common denominator is that those three houses will be dressed in their winter finery for the Ellwood City Municipal Woman’s Club house tour.

This year, the homes are joined on the tour — which is 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday — with Stramba Farms, Alpaca and More.

Nancy Walton is chairwoman, and Phyllis Conway and Nancy Fenton are co-chairing the event, and money raised benefits the club’s gazebo funds and civic projects.

It’s the perfect way to be infused with a dose of cheer, Conway said.

“The house tour gets you in the holiday spirit,” she noted, adding it’s wonderful seeing the homes decorated so beautifully and the warm hospitality of the owners who open their homes to the public.

The home of Mary and Herk Hooker at 151 Wurtemburg Road was built as a stagecoach stop and tavern by George F. Rapp in 1849. It was operated as a hotel by William Wilson in 1867 until it became a single-family dwelling in the late 1800s or early 1900s. H.W. Hooker purchased the house in 1939 and lived there until his death in 2008. Then the house was renovated by the current owners.

Dean and Valerie Custozzo’s home at 404 Jefferson Ave. was built in 1925 as a home for local steel workers and has been theirs since 1997.

Even then, Valerie envisioned where the Christmas tree would stand and looked forward to decorating the fireplace mantel. Since then, multiple trees have sprung up all over the house.

“I love Christmas and think about new ways to decorate every year,” she said.

The living room tree features ornaments from tag sales and craft shows. The small tree in the kitchen has edible-looking cinnamon sticks, gingerbread people and cookies.

In the dining room, there’s a village, a pencil tree with various homespun ornaments and antique buffets all dressed for the holidays with Santa, dishes and greenery. Upstairs, three bedrooms and a bath all have their own trees.

At 709 Morningstar Drive is the home of Ann and Jim Mason.

It was built in 1991 and is beautifully decorated for the holidays. That includes two live Christmas trees — a formal one on the main level and a children’s tree on the family room level.

There are live Christmas flowers on the “Romeo and Juliet” balcony, swags on the stairs and highlighted holiday decorated areas.

The home also features a pottery collection, monk-themed items and mission clocks.

Stramba Farm Alpacas & More is family owned and operated and started in business in January 2006. The 16-acre farm also includes a fiber mill and fiber processing.

The gazebo at Five Points in Ewing Park is a result of club members’ efforts. It was dedicated July 1, 1989, and is maintained by the club, and used for wedding and graduation photographs, meetings and as a stopping place for people who walk in the park area.

The club’s civic projects include the Ellwood City Public Library, Ellwood City Food Bank, Salvation Army, Yellow Ribbon Girls and Rita Hazen Education Fund, and new Christmas decorations in the downtown area.

In conjunction with the tour, many area businesses will offer various discounts and drawings that day.


Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Author.tiff Arthur the author: Children’s writer/illustrator visits Neshannock Elementary

    A story about a grandmother and her granddaughter flying over a city grew from the vivid imagination of children’s author Arthur Dorros. “Abuela” also spurred the creativity of students at Neshannock Memorial Elementary School who had eagerly awaited a visit from Dorros yesterday.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Greer House changes name

    Greer House, a provider of assisted living services and care to seniors, has unveiled its new name. “We are thrilled about our new name — Clen-Moore Place,” said executive director Susan Leise, “because it better reflects our commitment to provide a vibrant environment where our residents thrive each and every day.

    April 16, 2014

  • Huston.jpg Greg Huston: Pirates pitching is porous and LeBron’s a phony

    The Buccos got swept this past weekend in their own personal house of horrors, otherwise known as Miller Park in Milwaukee. The Pirates will hover around .500 this year mainly because they do have some stars in Marte, McCutchen and Alvarez, and they play the right way with grit.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • 01.jpg Photo Gallery, Story: Students team up on paper pantry

    Food is not the only thing that sometimes is in short supply for those in need. With that in mind, students from seven Lawrence County high schools joined Westminster College sororities and fraternities Saturday in preparing a paper pantry for local residents.

    April 14, 2014 8 Photos

  • school.jpg Neshannock approves resignation, agreement, related legal fees

    The Neshannock school board accepted the resignation of business manager and board secretary Melissa Morosky Thursday. Morosky’s resignation is effective Wednesday.

    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • Solomon to head Warner advisers

    The Historic Warner Cascade Theatre has named Nanette Kaplan Solomon chairwoman of the board of advisers. Solomon is a New Castle resident and professor of piano at Slippery Rock University.

    April 12, 2014

  • Consultant hired for downtown riverwalk

    The city of New Castle has hired a consultant to plan a pedestrian riverwalk in the downtown. Council awarded a contract for $30,000 to Macking Engineering Co. of Pittsburgh on Thursday.

    April 12, 2014

  • New Visions slates downtown meetings

    The New Visions Clean and Green Action Team will meet at 6 p.m. Monday at the Confluence downtown. The Earth Day event in downtown New Castle April 26 will be discussed.

    April 12, 2014

  • money.jpg County seeks grant to plan for park upgrades

    A plan for upgrading six parks in Lawrence County hinges on a state grant. The commissioners Tuesday approved an application to the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for matching greenways funds to create master plans for the parks, a venture estimated to cost $239,600.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mooney.jpg Mooney named as recipient of Butz Humanitarian award

    Anna Mary Mooney, a volunteer for several community organizations, will receive the 2014 Butz Humanitarian Award. Mooney will be honored at a dinner April 22 at The Villa in Shenango Township. She is the 15th person to receive the award, named after the original recipient, Jack Butz.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo