China Grove holiday tour set for Dec. 6

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 21, 2008

By Susan Shinn
CHINA GROVE ó Rebecca Flowe and Don Harris wanted to build a home with enough room to entertain, and they’ve done just that.
Their four-bedroom, three-story brick house, built in 2001, has 7,500 square feet ó plenty of room to spread out and mingle.
The home will be the second stop on this year’s Christmas Tour of Homes and Progressive Dinner, sponsored by the Historical Society of South Rowan.
Flowe has always loved Victorian furnishings, and she’s filled her new home in this classic style and colors of mauves, greens and browns.
Look for five Christmas trees throughout the home decorated in this same fashion ó plus one on the extensive front porch.
In her parlor, you’ll see a player piano purchased by her mother in 1930.
Flowe lived previously on South Main Street in a large home that now houses Main Street Mission. It was at one time Linn-Honeycutt Funeral Home.
“It was sad to leave, it really was, but I came here,” she says.
Flowe built her home on Lentz Road. She inherited some 14 acres after her mother died.
Her nephews live close by.
“I’ve seen as many as 12 deer in back,” Harris says, looking out into the huge backyard.
Most of the guests for the dinner will be seated in a room that serves as Flowe’s photography studio.
Flowe and Harris both enjoy portrait photography. A variety of backgrounds are painted on the walls.
Upstairs is the museum.
Why is it called that?
“I’ll show you,” Flowe says, as she walks up steps.
This 20- by 30-foot room is filled with World War II and Vietnam memorabilia belonging to members of Flowe’s family, memorabilia from Harris’ service in Vietnam, and a Civil War collection belonging to Harris.
The centerpiece of the room is a train set purchased by Harris’ dad in 1946, when Harris was a wide-eyed youngster.
“I think he got it for himself,” Harris says, chuckling.
The American Flyer train set is S-scale and comprises three different tracks. All of the accessories are tin.
The trainset is now on permanent display. Harris began setting it up in July.
“I had to replace a lot of wiring,” he says.
Flowe also displays her mother’s wedding suit from 1945, the year Clara Wise Flowe married James Carl Flowe.
“I’m thrilled it’s still in one piece,” Flowe says of the brown wool suit.
Flowe’s father was a supervisor at Cannon Mills and there is stationery and employee newsletters from this era.”Everybody was very connected,” Flowe says.
Flowe shows off clothing belonging to her grandmother, Ollie Morgan Flowe Mullis.
Against another wall is a trunk full of Flowe’s mother’s hats ó the same trunk Clara Flowe took to Lenoir-Rhyne College.
Flowe also has much family furniture ó an oak bedroom suite belonging to her great-grandparents, Dora and Lonnie Wise, is in one bedroom. Dora Wise’s spinning wheel has a place in the master bedroom.
Flowe found a solid brass bed when she was in college at East Carolina University. She paid $60 for it and has been offered much more since.
Visitors may also notice lighthouse artwork through the house. The couple are big fans of lighthouses, and love the work of John Evers.
With her parents and brother deceased, Flowe has become the keeper of her family’s belongings.
“My parents and grandparents were packrats,” she says. “That’s how it evolved. It all means something to me.”
The Christmas Tour of Homes and Progressive Dinner is set for Saturday, Dec. 6, with seatings at 4:30 and 6:30 p.m.
The tour begins with hors d’oeuvres at the Roller Mill; the entree at the Flowe-Harris home; a tour of the home of Ann and Don Fryar on South Main Street; a tour of the home of Elaine Howle on Hillside Drive; and desserts at Villa Franca on Patterson Road, the home of Ginger and Dennis Black.
Tickets for the evening are $25 per person and may be purchased by calling 704-425-5323 or 704-855-8329. Seating is limited and transportation will be provided.