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Historic homes sparkle during Christmas on Green Street

Annual event features parade, tours and caroling in downtown Gainesville

POSTED: December 1, 2016 12:38 p.m.
/Get Out file photo

Daniel Meeks and Jasmine Flores perform with others in the Salvation Army band during last year's Christmas on Green Street in Gainesville. This year's event will begin at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4.

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Any other day of the week, the house at 746 Green St. is home to the Winner Wellness Center. But on Sunday, Dec. 4, its historic past will come to life as a part of the annual Christmas on Green event. 

“When this all started, it was for the people in the community to be able to come and be up close and see the homes,” said Martha Hodge of the Hall County Historical Society, which has sponsored the event for 15 years. “We’re really celebrating what Green Street is, and that’s the history of these homes.”

The home at 746 Green St., known as the Longstreet-Newton house, dates back to before the turn of the 20th century, according to the Hall County Historical Society. It was originally owned by Helen D. Longstreet, wife of Confederate Gen. James Longstreet and postmistress of Gainesville for many years. She converted the basement into one of Gainesville’s first Catholic churches. Hodge said the house is unique for its gold crown moulding in five rooms on the first floor.

The Longstreet-Newton house is one of many historic homes on Green Street that will be decorated from porch to roof for Christmas on Green. Several houses will be open for tours and its occupants will provide refreshments and live music to visitors.

The free event starts at 4:30 p.m. with the Christmas-style parade down Green Street beginning at 4:45 p.m. at The Gainesville Civic Center. It will conclude at 7 p.m. with the Rotary Club tree lighting at the intersection of Green Street and Academy Street.

Other activities include narrated tours of the historic homes and family-friendly activities.

“It’s exciting. There’s going to be something on every porch that’s open,” Hodge said. “It’s a great way to start the Christmas season and kind of a Christmas gift to the community.”

Hodge said this year’s event will have more floats than previous years and feature 29 singing and dancing groups, including the East Hall Viking Band and the Atlanta Freedom Band.

Children may climb onto Santa’s lap and have their pictures taken. They may also meet princess and superhero characters or check out a Jurassic Park car. Other child-friendly events are a petting zoo and fudge-making demonstrations.

Free mini-train rides will chug around The Times parking lot, and the press will be running for anyone to see.

The Times also will have a free photo booth with professional photographer and serve as the police command center with lost and found, first aid and information.

The Quinlan Visual Arts Center will be open for its annual Handcrafted for the Holidays event, selling art and crafts from local artists.

Green Street will close at 3:45 p.m. to accommodate the activities and the parade. Parking will be available on the side streets off Green, at the old Gainesville High football field area and behind the Board of Education building.

For more information, contact the Hall County Historical Society at hchsgeorgia@gmail.com or call 770-503-1319.



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