DeFuniak Springs Christmas Tour of Homes Dec 2
November 29, 2023 by SoWal Staff
Usher in the holidays with the annual Christmas Tour of Homes in historic DeFuniak Springs on Saturday, December 2.
Filled with holiday splendor, the tour runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m and features 15 beautiful homes, churches, and businesses.
Hosted by St. Agatha’s Episcopal Church, the tour kicks off a day-long series of festivities around Lake DeFuniak and its charming and vibrant downtown business district—a Main Street America community member.
A magnificent gathering of properties, this year’s tour of homes is rich in history and represents various types of architecture and personalities.
Homes include the McLean/Pickett House (c. 1905) – a French Colonial home reminiscent of old New Orleans that used to house a kindergarten; the Pansy Cottage (c. 1900) – a classical Queen Anne style home named after the original owner who went by the pen name Pansy, and wrote over 100 books between 1890 and 1900 (three of which are still in the DeFuniak Library); the Burton House (c.1955) – a Frank Lloyd Wright inspired “California Ranch” home owned by the “Lady of the Lake” that remains largely in its original style and is decorated in mid-century furnishings; the Graves/McCormick House (c. 1895) – one of the most ornate Queen Anne homes in the city; the Kensey/Bacon House (c. 1910) – a perfect example of how an old house can be restored to meet the modern world but still has its original character; the Beach House (c. 1900) – built and owned by the second mayor of the City, the home has been well restored and preserved; the Smith Home (c. 1905) – a home owned by new City residents who continue to restore and preserve the lovely frame vernacular home; and the newly renovated Sun Bright Manor (c. 1886) - the former Queen Anne style home of Florida’s twenty-second governor, Sidney J. Catts.
Homeowners will also be available during the tour to share unique stories about the history of the homes and their previous owners—one homeowner even has an interesting story about Doc Holiday’s dental chair!
Business sites on the tour are The Jordan Theater (c.1955), currently being renovated with the owner in attendance to discuss its restoration, and the new boutique “All Things New” offering home and garden items as well as gifts.
Historical church properties on the tour include the First Presbyterian Church (c. 1884) and St. Agatha’s Episcopal Church (c. 1890), along with St. Agatha’s Parish House and Vicarage—all located on Circle Drive around beautiful Lake DeFuniak.
St. Agatha’s Church will also hold an organ demonstration at 3 p.m. during the tour. The only pure pipe organ in the city, St. Agatha’s mahogany pipe organ was hand-made and patterned after the Haydn organ in England.
The self-guided tour begins at the DeFuniak Springs Visitor’s Center at 1162 Circle Drive where visitors will be given a Tour Guide and Map with information on each property and the festivities around town during the day.
Reserved tickets are $25 per person and can be purchased at www.bit.ly/DFS-TOH23. Tickets are also available the day of the tour and can be purchased at the Visitor’s Center beginning at 9:30 a.m.
After the Christmas Tour of Homes, the merriment continues with the Merry Main Street Mistletoe Market, the Festival of Trees, and Christmas Reflections (a holiday tradition of over 10 million lights displayed around Lake DeFuniak). Guests are also encouraged to visit the Walton-DeFuniak Library (the oldest operating library in the state of Florida dating back to 1887), the Walton County Heritage Museum (located in the former L&N railroad depot), and the historic Chautauqua Hall of Brotherhood—all in the town’s historic district. The Chautauqua Vineyards & Winery is another local attraction that any visitor to DeFuniak Springs must visit, located near the interstate.
The Christmas Tour of Homes benefits St. Agatha’s Episcopal Church’s preservation efforts of its three historic structures dating back to the late 1880s. The event is sponsored by Walton County Tourism, Forward DeFuniak, Inc., and DeFuniak Landmarks, Inc.
For more information on the event, visit www.bit.ly/DFS-TOH23 or call (850) 830-7663.
St. Agatha's Episcopal Church is a historic Carpenter Gothic Episcopal church located at 144 Circle Drive in DeFuniak Springs, Florida. It is a contributing property in the DeFuniak Springs Historic District. Founded in 1890, its mission is to preserve the unique historical and inclusive environment for sacramental worship and to develop and maintain programs for community outreach and personal growth. The Church is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and contains a hand-made pipe organ patterned after a Haydn organ in England. It is the only church remaining from the Chautauqua era (1885-1937).