by Ron Engeldinger | Photo of Stellmacher House
With more than 700 well-preserved historic structures, Albany exhibits one of the most extensive and varied collections of notable buildings in Oregon. Styles that range from the simple Federal and elegant Queen Anne buildings of the 19th century to intimate Craftsman Bungalows of the early 20th century evoke the charm and sophistication of an elegant past. Many of the houses, churches and museums scattered throughout the center of the original homestead area have been carefully restored and take visitors on a tour back in time. Homes from cozy cottages to sophisticated mansions retain their original character while they support the contemporary lifestyles of their occupants.
An easy ramble through Albany’s level and compact central historic district provides a glimpse at more than 13 different architectural styles. For an organized exploration, stop at the Albany Visitors Association office to pick up a map and follow one of the self-guided walking tours. While the exterior architecture is on display year around, the best time to immerse yourself in the history and style of these architectural gems is during a tour sponsored by Albany’s Monteith Historical Society. Twice a year—July and December—a collection of these historic homes invite the public to explore inside.
During the Christmas Parlor Tour, held on the second Sunday each December, gracefully adorned homes display holiday decorations that complement the style of the home. Guests can experience the sights, sounds and smells of Christmas in the Victorian Era. Garlands of twinkling lights, plates of frosted gingerbread men and displays of grandmother’s tea service set the mood for memories of past holidays.
In addition to the historic home tours, a trio of museums (the Monteith House Museum, the Albany Regional Museum and the Dentzel Carousel Museum) offer an interesting peek into Albany’s history.
2013 Christmas Parlour Tour
Sunday, December 8th, 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $15 general admission and $12 for children, seniors and groups of ten or more. Tickets are available at the Albany Visitors Association at 110 3rd Avenue SE, or visit their website at albanyvisitors.com.