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
  • JaredGustafson.jpg Mohawk senior Jared Gustafson elected nation FCCLA officer

    A Mohawk High student was elected to national office at a leadership conference in Texas. Senior Jared Gustafson now is the 2014-2015 national vice president of parliamentary law for the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America.


    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • PipeDreams.jpg Concert to feature sounds of ’60s

    This week’s Friday Night Live at Riverwalk Amphitheater will feature a 1960s theme. Entertainment will be provided by Pipe Dreams. The group performs a tribute to the British Invasion and American rock ’n roll with music from The Beatles, Stones, Doors, Monkees and hits from Motown and Philly.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • well.jpg Environmental groups oppose forced pooling

    An effort by local landowners to have forced pooling declared unconstitutional is getting some outside support. Two environmental groups — Delaware Riverkeeper Network and Mountain Watershed Association — have filed a friend of the court brief with Commonwealth Court. They are asking that the court review forced pooling, which is part of a 1961 Oil and Gas Conservation Law, before scheduled hearings take place.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • CashMob.jpg Cash Mob returns Saturday to downtown

    The New Visions Destination Downtown Action Team will host a cash mob Saturday in downtown New Castle.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • wampum_gazebo.jpg Wampum Homecoming draws near

    The 22nd annual Wampum Homecoming Weekend is scheduled for this weekend. It is sponsored by the Wampum Area Business Association.


    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • money.jpg City imposing new regulations for vendors

    The city of New Castle is tightening regulations and imposing new ones for mobile food and transient vendors.


    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • money.jpg New recreation fees adopted

    New Castle City Council has adopted a new fee schedule for Cascade and Darlington parks. The new schedule runs from 2014 through 2016.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • HolidayInn.jpg Union Township getting another hotel

    Union Township is getting a Holiday Inn Express. John McClure, owner of McClure Realty, said he had closed a transaction Thursday on 3.8 acres on West State Street for the venture, a couple hundred yards west of the Hampton Inn.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • audit.jpg Shenango pension fund audit due ‘this summer’

    The audit report of the Shenango Township pension funds are expected to be released this summer.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • HIShands.jpg Local youths team up with His Hands Ministries to do home repair for those who can’t afford it

    Area youth from various Lawrence County churches started lending a helping hand Wednesday to residents in need. The annual Lawrence County Youth Ministries service event brings together students and adults for three days of volunteering. It is part of His Hands Ministries, an initiative involving local churches and volunteers who split into work groups to perform  home improvement tasks for elderly and low-income homeowners in the community.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo