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Milton holiday displays shine during Historic Christmas Walk

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Stacy Vogel
November 30, 2007
— Linda and Jim Lyke were delighted when they discovered two years ago that their 1930 home probably was ordered from a Montgomery Ward catalogue and delivered, piece by piece, to Milton.

But the Lykes’ care and creativity has made the house at 414 Columbus Street anything but a cookie-cutter home.


The couple will show off their “gingerbread house”—so nicknamed for its peaked roof decorated with icicle lights—at Milton’s fifth annual Historic Christmas Walk on Sunday.


Linda took several traditional Christmas ideas and added her own particular twist in decorating the home. Visitors first will see a small Christmas tree decorated with baby shoes on the front porch.


Most of the shoes belonged to the Lyke children—Rob, 13, and Corinne, 15—but other pairs belonged to Jim and other relatives.


“My mom and I were going through our kids’ baby clothes and she said, ‘You should have a shoe tree,’” Linda said.


Another tree features intricate origami creations by Rob—although he’s much too cool for origami now, his parents said.


Visitors can see Linda’s collections of nesting dolls and wood carvings, including several Santas. She proudly displays a collection of wooden ducks carved by her father, Loren Risse, before he died in June.


But the tour won’t just include Christmas objects. Linda and Jim also display several historical items, a Milton atlas and the wedding dress worn by Linda’s mother, Rita. They’ve turned the “peak room” at the top of the house into a “childhood memorabilia room” with old toys, dolls and even a 1925 Milton College yearbook.


The Lykes learned from the atlas that their lot once belonged to the Goodriches, the founding family of Milton.


“Pretty much this whole side of town was owned by the Goodriches at one time,” Jim said.


The other homes on the Christmas walk, a fund-raiser for the Milton Area Chamber of Commerce, Industry & Tourism, are:


-- 340 E. Madison Ave., owned by Blaine and Shirley Adams. The home, built in 1899 or 1900, used to belong to Professor Rood of Milton College.


-- 1 W. Madison Ave., owned by Betty Jo Ban. The home was built in the late 1890s but has undergone many changes and expansions. It will display a collection of Dickens Village pieces, and the Rock Prairie Dulcimers Group will provide background music.


-- 974 E. High St., owned by John Berg and Ann Keen-Berg. AT&T built this 1911 concrete home for an employee and his family.


-- 949 E. High St., owned by Bart and Lynn Munger. The one-and-a-half story home dates back to the late 1800s or early 1900s.


If you go

What: Milton’s Historic Christmas Walk.


When: 4 to 8 p.m. Sunday.


Where: A bus will pick up and drop off walkers at the Milton House Museum, 18 S. Janesville St., and take them to five decorated homes.


Other information: Tickets are $5. They’re available in advance from First Community Bank, Bank of Milton, Milton Savings Bank, Red Rooster and Goodrich Hall or the day of the event at any participating house.


As part of the festivities, The Gathering Place, 715 Campus Lane, will host “Hot Dogs with Santa” from 4 to 8 p.m. A “Holiday Shop Hop” will take place throughout the weekend.


For more information, call Christina Slaback at (608) 868-6222 or Terry Williamson at 868-3651.



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