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Thursday, Sept. 1, 2011 02:04 pm

THIS OLD, OLD HOUSE

The James J. Eldred House in Eldred, about 45 miles south of Jacksonville, will be open to the public for the first time in a decade the weekend after Labor Day as part of Greene County Days.

“This is the first time that we’ve really felt comfortable allowing people in the house again,” said Seth McGee, president of the Illinois Valley Cultural Heritage Foundation.

The limestone house, completed in 1861, is structurally sound after years upon years of restoration, McGee said, and it is wired for electricity. But plenty of finishing touches remain on a house with lots and lots of windows that has been vacant since the 1930s.

“When people go in, they’re going to see it in a medium state of being done,” McGee said.

Tours will begin at 9 a.m. on Sept. 10 and Sept. 11 and last through the day. A string band playing Civil War-era music is scheduled to perform at 2 p.m. on Saturday, with a bluegrass band set to perform five hours later. In between will be a presentation by playwright and newspaper columnist Ken Bradbury, who is scheduled to tell stories and perform songs at 5 p.m., when a free ham-and-bean dinner will be served. Music is scheduled for Sunday at noon, with Troy Taylor of the American Ghost Society scheduled to tell tales at 2 p.m.

Food and craft vendors will set up though the weekend, McGee said, but the house is the point.

“We want people to see the house – anybody who goes out there and sees it falls in love with it,” McGee said.

For more information, go to www.eldredhouse.com.
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