Tri-Kappa Tour of Homes

Wiests to share love
of preservation with house guests
during October tour

Eight stops are scheduled to be on the biennial tour

(October 2014) – A home can be many things. It provides shelter and a place to raise a family. It can act as storage for possessions. Some people view a home as an area in which they are free to express themselves in the manner they choose to decorate. When one makes a home in the historic district of downtown Madison, Ind., there is a distinct possibility that the house will become a teacher. After all, a long story is waiting to be told within the walls of a historic home.

Tri-Kappa Tour of Homes
Oct. 10-12 in Madison, Ind.

• Tour Hours: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Friday, Saturday;
noon - 5 p.m. Sunday

Tour Stops
• Carol Stoner Home and Carole’s Cottage
, 315 Mill St. and West Main Street. Hostesses: Shannon Dattilo and Kelli Hertz
• Don and Jill Wiest Home, 310 W. Third St. Hostesses: Angie Cammack and Jackie Overpeck
• Gallery 115 Hospitality Site, 155 E. Main St. Owner: Eric Phagan. Hostesses: Becky Anderson and Karen Holland
• Don and Joyce Wells Home and Magnolia Cottage, 510 E. Second St. Hostesses: Hilary Bear and Shelley Brown
• John and Linda DeLuca Home, 514 E. Main St. Hostesses: Laurie Livorno & Leslie Miller
• Rich and Ruth Murray Home, 714 E. Main St. Hostesses: Tanya Besse and Maureen Stacier
• Seifert-Short Folk Art and Doll Museum Hospitality Site, 113 E. Third St. Hostesses: Becky Anderson and Karen Holland
• Ben Schroeder Saddletree Factory, 106 Milton St. Owner: Historic Madison Inc. Hostess and host: Nadja Boone and John Stacier
• Tickets: $12.50 adults; $5 children ages 5-10. Under 5 free. Available at the Lanier-Madison Visitors Center or on tour days at tour headquarters at Madison Presbyterian Church, 202 Broadway
• Information: 1-800-559-2956 or visit: www.TriKappaTourofHomes.com

This is a lesson that Don and Jill Wiest are more than happy to learn and share with visitors to their home. The Wiest home is just one of the eight locations that will be included on this year’s Tri Kappa Tour of Homes, set for Oct. 10-12 in Madison. The home has never been featured on the biennial tour before. According to Elizabeth Winters, one of the tour organizers, most of the homes featured this year have never been opened for tour before.
The Wiests purchased their home, formerly known as the Mersdorff House, in 2008 after an extensive house hunt that began in 2005. Three years, and approximately 25 prospective houses later, the decision was made. Jill says that when they entered the two-story Federal style house on West Third Street, they both knew the search had ended. “This was the house,” she says with a smile and a nod. “It just felt right.”
It was not until much later that the couple discovered the home was more linked to their past than they had initially realized. While going through a box of old photos, Jill found a special picture. Sitting in a wagon and wearing a homemade sailor suit was Jill’s father – standing in the background was the home that the Wiests had recently purchased. Apparently, Jill’s grandfather owned one of the homes across the street from her new residence.
According to Jill, the Dutch Colonial home on the same block of the Third Street was built as an example of the homes that would be built by the Federal Housing Administration during the Roosevelt era and was built on land donated by Jill’s grandfather for this purpose. 

Wiest Home

Photo provided

Don and Jill Wiest’s home at
310 W. Third St. is a representative
of classic Federal style located
on a long and narrow lot, which
is typical in Madison. It is full of
the Wiests’ family heirlooms,
which have been collected for
more than 40 years.

The Wiest home is filled with sentimental items that the couple has gathered and inherited from family members. In the entry hall hangs a display of past war memorabilia, all of them connected to the couple’s ancestors. Almost every room displays needlework done by Jill’s grandmother.
A mahogany and oak English country clock that once belonged to Don’s mother presides over the front parlor. The family room at the back of the home is furnished with whicker that once belonged to Don’s grandparents. In Jill’s office stands a shelf adorned with wedding announcements, some hand written, from past family members. The couple has surrounded themselves with items that keep the memory of loved ones very present in their lives.
The Wiests also love to collect Kitchenalia or antique cooking equipment that they display in the kitchen and dining areas. It is a treat to examine each item closely and try to guess its function.
As active members of Historic Madison Inc., the Wiests felt the need to share their home with the Tri Kappa Tour of Homes. Jill’s mother was a member of the organization and the couple has always been supportive of the group and their philanthropic endeavors. Don adds that people can learn what to do in their own homes by participating in a historical home tour. “I feel strongly about preservation and wanted to make our home available.”


Photo by Jenny Straub Youngblood

Jill and Don Wiest will take part in the upcoming Tri-Kappa Tour of Homes by featuring their home on Third Street.

The home has undergone many changes since its beginning in the 1830s. Initially a frame structure, a double-brick walled front that had two floors was added to the front of the home so that the building now sits flush with the sidewalk. This work was completed by 19th century carpenter, Hamilton Hibbs who owned the home at the time. The Italianate box gutters and Victorian front door recall the original style of the home. The home was later purchased by the Mersdorff family who owned it for more than 90 years.
The 1990s saw another two-story addition to the home when the existing frame portion of the home was replaced with a kitchen and an upstairs master bedroom with bath. The Wiests would later add a family room to the back of the home that boasts a fireplace designed to look like the fireplaces added by Hibbs.
The Tour of Homes is hosted by the Tri Kappa organization. All proceeds will go to local scholarships and other projects.

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