By Lynette Norris
Greene Publishing, Inc.
There was a lot more than the usual noon meeting in store Thursday, March 10, for the Madison Woman’s Club. Beginning at 10:30 that morning, club member Ann Smith had opened her historic home, the Dr. Chandler H. Smith House, and invited everyone to come by for a tour. For the next hour or so, club members dropped by the two storey Queen Anne Victorian dwelling, which had also won the “Yard of the Month Club” award a few days earlier from the Madison Garden Club.
Ann greeted everyone at the front door and welcomed them into the house where her husband, Sim Smith, had grown up, sharing stories of his childhood escapades – everything from sneaking upstairs to smoke cigarettes with friends, to throwing lighted matches off the roof. “It’s a wonder the house is still standing!” She said.
Ann and Sim Smith bought the family home from Sim’s sisters several years ago, and submitted an application to the National Register of Homes. The application process was a long one, but they finally got their home officially listed on March 26, 1998. The registration certificate now hangs in the front hallway.
They also began the process of restoring the home, a work that is still in progress in some parts of the house. However, the results so far are stunning, and visitors who wandered through the beautifully decorated rooms remarked that it was like visiting a museum, or stepping back in time. The walls were painted in shades of rose, wine, blue, mint green and golden yellow and each piece of furniture had a history all its own. Downstairs, the blue and white kitchen, with glass front cabinets and its own fireplace, was a favorite. “I could just live here in this kitchen and never leave,” said one amazed guest. Upstairs, sunlight filtered through antique lace curtains and white shutters into bedrooms decorated in period style. Complete with vintage bed covers and historic photographs on some of the walls, each room looked like a picture postcard from a bygone era.
“It’s been a lengthy journey,” Ann says of the restoration process, “and it’s not over yet.”
Following the home tour, everyone gathered at the Woman’s Club for their noon meeting and lunch, a St. Paddy’s Day-themed fundraiser that included a fashion show and a silent auction. There, another treat awaited everyone as Official Leprechaun Josh Jordan Waring (son of club member Elizabeth Waring and grandson of club president Jackie Johnson) handed out gold-wrapped chocolate coins. Off to the side, a room full of pretty things donated by members awaited bids for the silent auction.
But the biggest hit was the fashion show, featuring some of the latest looks from the spring collection of Fads ‘n’ Fashions of Valdosta. Models Leigh Barfield, Jean Brandies, Kay Browning, Margaret Ann Bunch, Wanda Dickinson, Terry Fall, Frances Mercer, Lou Miller, Myra Valentine, Elizabeth Waring and Raye Wooley worked the stage in colorful ensembles and accessories while Larry McWilliams provided musical accompaniment on the piano.
Lex Webb was the usher, offering the models a hand as they stepped down from shamrock-and-rainbow-decorated stage to the floor, while Betty Williams narrated descriptions of their outfits.
Afterwards, the winning bids were announced for the silent auction, which had raised $617. Proceeds from the auction and ticket sales for the fashion show will go toward needed maintenance and upkeep of the Woman’s Club building.