All dressed up in finery for annual Norwin Historical Society's Holiday House Tour
Don and Cordelia Miller say their Irwin home has been in a constant state of restoration since they bought it in 1977.
Not surprising, since construction on the two-story stone Georgian structure began in 1792.
Its builder, John Irwin — a colonel in the British army who also fought with the colonists during the Revolutionary War and who was the uncle of Irwin's founder, also called John Irwin — wanted a house that couldn't be destroyed by man or nature. But 18th-century design and building methods left some challenges.
Over the years, the Millers have dug out the basement, jacked up sagging interior walls, removed layers of flooring, replastered, insulated, restored or replaced woodwork and replaced wiring, plumbing, the heating system and windows.
A recently completed stone addition provides space for a large gourmet kitchen. A second-story porch has been enclosed for a bathroom, laundry room and sunroom.
To boot, the Millers have done most of the work themselves.
Holiday house tour
The Miller abode is one of eight featured sites on the Norwin Historical Society's Holiday House Tour scheduled for Dec. 2.
“It's the oldest home in Irwin,” says board and tour committee member Geralyn DeFelice.Another tour home was built in 1930 by a 35-year-old manager at Westinghouse, grandfather to the current owner.
“It's been in the family all that time,” DeFelice says. “It has the original hardwood and crown moldings.”
A third is a two-story, brick-front colonial owned by Andrew and Tricia Hoffman, which Tricia Hoffman describes as “a ‘Home Alone' house.”
The “farmhouse-rustic” holiday decor features four trees and one special room that Tricia Hoffman says was inspired by Joanna Gaines of “Fixer Upper” fame.
“I call it farmhouse glam,” she says. “There are a lot of metallics. It's the prettiest room in the house.”
As for the other houses, DeFelice says, you'll just have to come and see for yourself.
“We don't like to give too much away. We like to have some surprises,” she says.
Historical society president Carl Huszar promises that they range from “very large and historic to very new and fabulous.”
Take the shuttle
Any remaining tickets will be available on tour day.
For the second year, there is a VIP Shuttle option for $35, which includes the tour.
Those taking the shuttle from site to site will board in the parking lot of Calvary Baptist Church at 101 Caruthers Lane, Irwin. Cars can be left in the church lot.
Boarding will begin about 3:15 p.m., DeFelice says, with the shuttle leaving promptly at 3:30 p.m.
“It's a good deal,” she says. “You don't have to drive in the dark and find a parking spot at each stop.”
Those with the $18 ticket can pick up their wristbands and tour books beginning at 3 p.m. Dec. 2 at the library, at 100 Caruthers Lane, across the street from the church.
Shirley McMarlin is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-836-5750, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @shirley_trib.