Thursday, April 17, 2014
Pilgrimage weekend huge success
By SUE WATSON
Good spring sunshine and temperatures in the 70s brought out droves of visitors to historic Holly Springs for the annual tour of homes.
Activities kicked off Thursday night when Joe McGill and Chelius Carter held a wine and cheese party for the “Behind The Big House Tour,” in its third year.
School children were bused in last week as well to hear McGill tell the story of how the little house behind the big house was a critical source of support for the beautiful antebellum homes built in Holly Springs beginning back in the 1840s.
Friday morning, the 76th Holly Springs Pilgrimage was officially opened at Montrose by Elizabeth Smith, president of the Holly Springs Garden Club.
She said it is important to tell the stories of people “who lived, worked and who died here.”
Vice mayor Tim Liddy welcomed visitors and local citizens to Montrose and to the ribbon cutting. The Pilgrimage is the longest, premier, historic presentation event in the city, he said.
“We would lose this great heritage if we did not have this event,” he said.
First Baptist Church pastor Joe Lusby offered the invocation, thanking God for the community, town, state and nation.
“With any history there is good and there is bad,” he said. “As we consider our past, our history, may our history, good or bad, make a better future for the children and grandchildren (of this generation).”
The Pilgrimage queen, Anna Belk Summerlin, and escort Frank Stephenson Elgin Jr. were honored with a royal procession from the steps of Montrose to the carriage of Vicki Swords, driven by Vernon Stroupe and drawn by two percherons.
Elgin’s parents, Steve and Kathy, were present as well as his paternal grandmother, Carole Jean Taylor, and maternal grandmother, Martha Coghlin of Pelahatchie.
The queen’s parents, Jim and Tish Summerlin, were present as well as maternal grandmother Linda Belk.
The queen and her escort received at each home throughout the weekend.
Tish Summerlin said she thinks this was an exceptional year due in large part to everyone pulling together in a positive way.
“Everyone – from the mayor to the police department, the street department – were all exceptionally helpful and seemed excited for the weekend, along with us,” she said. “We were blessed with perfect weather, which I kind of attributed to my dad (the late Fred M. Belk Jr.) and the late Ms. Ann (Callicutt), who “put in a good word” for us in the weather department.
“As co-chairs, Kathy (Elgin) and I thank the city and townspeople for all of their input, hard work and enthusiasm helping to make this weekend a success.
“Proceeds from the tour go to the upkeep and restoration of Montrose. Pilgrimage weekend benefits everyone in town from homeowners to businesses, and when we all pull together it makes our efforts as garden club members so well worth it. We feel honored to represent not only the garden club, but Holly Springs as a whole during Pilgrimage. We had loads of positive feedback from our visitors.”
Visitors were very polite and responsive to the hospitality extended during the tour, said Jorja Lynn, owner of Walter Place.
“It was wonderful,” she said. “I think we had the nicest crowd we’ve ever had. There was a constant and steady stream of visitors.”
Attendance was good during the weekend, including Sunday, which is usually a light day for visitors, Lynn said.
Lynn and her 3-year-old granddaughter, Antonia Acetelli, went to the square to see the carriage. The queen and her escort invited the two to join them in a ride from the square to Burton Place.
“She was transported,” Lynn said. “It was like this 3-year-old was riding on a cloud. She was awestruck. She couldn’t speak. She said it was the best day of her life.”
Edwin Callicutt and his family members – daughter Alice Ray, sons Hayward and Edwin III, granddaughters Wesleyann Ray and Darby Jane Callicutt, and daughters-in-law Brenda Callicutt and Kathy Callicutt – received guests at The Terrace, a home that has been in his family since 1940. The Terrace was built circa 1842.
“I enjoyed having it open, and most of the people, when they got ready to leave, thanked us for opening this Pilgrimage,” he said.
This was only the third time The Terrace has ever been on the tour. The first time was about 15 to 18 years ago.
“We just enjoyed having my family back and I opened the house for one reason; that was in the memory of my wife (the late Ann Callicutt),” he said.
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