Each year as part of the Milton Area Chamber of Commerce Christmas Walk, a few homeowners open their doors to the community. They share the gift of holiday spirit, decorating inspiration and Milton history. Sometimes that gift is all three wrapped in one package.
Such is the case with the two-story home at 22 N. Janesville St. Records show the property was owned by the city’s founder Joseph Goodrich in 1840. The structure itself was the home of A.B. Lee, black Civil War veteran. (See “Who was A.B. Lee?” by clicking here.) The Lee home and harness shop were three doors down north of the creamery, an apartment building north of the Milton House museum.
Looking at the building, you wouldn’t know it had been a harness shop.
Anita Swaim has lived in the house 36 years.
When she first moved in, she thought something was missing.
“It looked so plain,” said Swaim, seated on the living room couch, showing black and white photos of the home.
Through a renovation in 1996, a front porch was again added.
“That’s my heart,” said Swaim of the porch. “I spent a lot of time out there watching the cars go by. We’re very grateful when the bypass came through because before the bypass, 16,000 vehicles went by my house.”
As she’s talking two cats: Reggie White and “Barty” Bart Starr introduce themselves.
For the most part, they seem to pay little attention to the Christmas decorations or the fact that Swain and her son Elgine Storlie put up the Christmas decorations early this year.
Their decorating theme is traditional. The tree is a mix of reds and gold and ornaments and accents. A lighted angel tops the tree. Underneath it, is a large golden bow with its loose ends of ribbon cascading down the tree.
Throughout the living room are Mark Roberts Santa figurines.
As Christmas Walk participants will step on to the front porch and enter through the front door, they will be greeted by the figurines and the warmth of the fireplace.
Across the room is a lighted cabinet displaying a teacup collection from Swaim’s Great Aunt Bernice (“Bunny”), who traveled throughout the world.
The living room is ready for the Christmas Walk.
“All we have to do is the bathroom and the laundry room and set the kitchen table,” Swaim said.
Storlie said he talked his mom into being in the Christmas Walk.
“We just wanted to share something different,” Swaim said.
About the Christmas Walk
The Milton Area Chamber of Commerce Christmas Walk will be held 2-7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8.
The complete list of homes includes:
- Klos home — 5606 E. Klug Road
- Swaim home — 22 N. Janesville St.
- Bodnar home — 18 N. Janesville St.
- Williamson home — 742 E. Madison Ave.
- Ochs home — 715 Parkview Drive
- Yohanek home — 501 College St.
- Overley home — 1006 W. Madison Ave.
Tickets for the Christmas Walk will be available at the homes the day of the walk, or in advance at the MACC office, Milton banks, Goodrich Antiques and Red Rooster. Tickets are $10. Children under 12 will be admitted free of charge.