When Dennis and Marcia Au purchased their Downtown Evansville home on Southeast Second Street in 1998, it was in complete disrepair. After extensive renovations and remodeling, however, the home will be a stop on the Old Evansville Historic Association Christmas Home Tour.
“When we chose it, it just felt like the right one for us despite the fact there was moss growing in the carpet and mushrooms on the walls,” says Marcia, who retired in 2015 as CEO-director from the Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library.
The Second Empire house was built in 1873 for Azro Dyer, Vanderburgh County’s first Superior Court Judge, and his wife Prudence Dyer. With its restored woodwork, refurbished flooring, and original mantelpieces, the house lends itself well to Christmastime.
During the season, it isn’t just the home that inspires nostalgia. Dennis, who served as the city’s historic preservation officer for 19 years, and Marcia also have a collection of vintage Christmas decorations including goose feather Christmas trees that are more than a century old and Santa Claus post cards and trading cards, like one from the 1880s of Santa dropping mince meat pies down the chimney. Many of the Santas even wear suits
of nontraditional colors such as blue and green.
“In one of my Santa post cards he has a bag of toys in one hand and coal and switches in the other,” says Dennis. “But that’s the fun thing about it. Sometimes after things are standardized it gets boring.”
Along with the Azro Dyer House, other homes on the tour, which will raise funds for additional historic streetlights in the area,
include the Fendrich House; Watkins F. Nisbet Carriage House; George A. Cunningham, Jr., House; Henry Cook House; and James D. Parvin House.
“This is our contribution to Evansville, and we hope to be able to pass it on as a resource to the city,” says Dennis.
Take the Tour • 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2