Holiday house tours gear up for season

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There are several holiday house tours planned in the area. Here is a sampling:

* The Ben Avon Holiday House Tour will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m. Dec. 7.

The tour will feature two homes in Ben Avon and and three in Ben Avon Heights, plus the Community Presbyterian Church of Ben Avon.

One of the homes on the tour was built as a reproduction of the George Wythe House, a National Historic Landmark in Colonial Williamsburg. Another house was recently renovated incorporating some features of Frank Lloyd Wright designs.

Docents will welcome tour-goers at each of the homes.

A shuttle will leave from Community Presbyterian Church of Ben Avon at 7501 Church Ave. (15202).

Tickets, $20 in advance, $25 on day of the tour, are available at or at The Fire Escape (7221 Church Ave., Ben Avon, 15202; or Cafe Notte, 8070 Ohio River Blvd., Emsworth.

* The 32nd Annual Old Allegheny Victorian Christmas House Tour is scheduled for Dec. 13 and 14.

There will be a guided tour, a chance to visit a toy train exhibit and a brunch tour. The lunch and dinner tours are sold out.

The personally guided tours give a glimpse into a bygone era during visits to restored Victorian homes that are lavishly decorated for the holidays in 19th-century style.

Also, there will an opportunity to visit a toy train museum -- a private collection of hundreds of colorful train sets from the early 20th century.

Tours will be scheduled at 12-minute intervals between 5 and 8 p.m. Dec. 14 and 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. Dec. 15. Reservations are required.

Tickets for the regular tour are $25 per person. Tickets for the model train exhibit are $10 per person.

Brunch tours ($55) on Dec. 14 start in a private residence.

The guided tours will originate from Calvary United Methodist Church at Allegheny and Beech avenues.

Ticket quantities are limited. Tickets may be ordered at

Information: 412-323-8884.

* The Academy Hill Historic District Holiday Tour in Greensburg will run from 11 to 5 p.m. Dec. 8.

The guided walking tours, which will begin every 20 minutes, will start and end at the Huff Mansion at 424 N. Main St. (home of the YWCA).

The six historic homes on the tour are within a five-block walk along Maple and Walnut avenues and Main and O'Hara streets.

Many of the buildings in the Academy Hill Historic District were built between 1880 and 1949.

Homeowners will share stories of history and restoration projects, and answer questions.

Reservations are required. Tickets, $25, can be purchased by calling 724-837-6274 or going to Proceeds benefit the Academy Hill Historic District, a nonprofit organization.

At the end of the tour, cider and ginger snaps will be served at the Huff Mansion, where there will be live music and a ticket auction. A local garden club will sell fresh pine greens, ornaments, wreaths and garlands.

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