Havre de Grace Candlelight Tour highlights historic homes

Havre de Grace Candlelight Tour highlights historic homes
Steve Sheppard's home on Union Ave is all decked out for Christmas during the Candlelight Tour in Havre de Grace Sunday. (Photo by Nicole Munchel | Record Staff)

Historic Havre de Grace homes and buildings were again on display for the 39th annual Candlelight Tour held Sunday evening to benefit The Lock House Museum.

With the weather being nice, volunteers from the museum lined parts of downtown streets with candles and were excited to see larger crowds walking through the town.


"The last few years, it hasn't been that good because of the rain," volunteer Bob Magee said, noting organizers were expecting about 600 of 1,000 available tickets to be sold.

The tour was combined with a Christmas Boutique, organized by "the Lock House ladies" at the museum. La Banque de Fleuve also offered music and refreshments, and St. Patrick Church held a choir concert before the tour.

Magee and Madelyn Shank, one of the tour's founders, said people come from places like Baltimore, Washington, D.C. and New Jersey to tour Havre de Grace's historic district.

"If they come one year, they come back," Shank said, adding the tour has grown over the years. "We have got some gem homes."

The home of Chris and Debby Stathes, at 615 Commerce Street, was one of the eight houses on display Sunday.

Debby Stathes said it was the family's second time showing off their home, which dates to 1937 and was built in the earlier Arts and Crafts, or Mission, style.

The house was substantially remodeled over the years, including a deck that was closed in.

"It's just getting ready for Christmas earlier," Debby Stathes said about being part of the Candlelight Tour. "I love the house, and it's a good excuse to get everything together for Christmas."

Stathes said the tour was also a good way to show off the city.

"I think it's a marvelous opportunity to bring people into Havre de Grace, to see the houses," she said. "It's a nice place."

Steve Sheppard, who moved into his home on South Union Avenue five years ago, said he has spent all that time remodeling the house, which dates to 1938.

"My parents loved this place as a kid," he said, explaining he grew up on Green Street and has long enjoyed the Candlelight Tour.

"I have gone on the tour for the past 15 years," he said. "It's always been fun to me."

The tour seemed to have a number of first-timers, and not just from among the tour stops.


Cheryl Manzone and Lois Rhodes, both of Bel Air, decided to swing by the tour after years of hearing about it.

They had started the evening inside a home on 500 Commerce Street, which was actually for sale. Owners Rob and Narelle Krizek were not home at the time of the tour, but a real estate agent was present.

"Both of us have said we have always wanted to do it," Manzone said. "Since the weather was good, there was no excuse."

Rhodes said they both love Havre de Grace, and Manzone said she kayaks from the city.

"I just have never been in one of these," Rhodes said about the homes. "I was just curious about what these beautiful houses are [like] on the inside."

Grace Reformed Episcopal Church on Fountain Street, one of two churches on the tour, was entertaining visitors with a harp performance and a live nativity scene outside.

Beth Shepard, of Abingdon, was one of the visitors sitting in the pews.

"This is the first time that I have been on the tour. I always miss it," she said. "I like seeing historic houses. Havre de Grace is really beautiful."

Shepard said she thought the event would draw more people this year with the weather being good.

"I just like old buildings. I like to see the stained glass and history," she said, adding the tour is also a good source of decorating inspiration.

"It's just a very unique way to celebrate Christmas," Shepard said.