Take a step back in time during the holiday season, and tour two of Fort Myers' oldest homes, set aglow with festive lights and beautiful décor.
About the Holiday House
For nearly 60 years, the Fort Myers Women’s Community Club has taken over historic homes in the community during December, converting them into beautiful Christmas displays and creating the beloved Holiday House event.
Initially established at the Edison Home in 1956, the Holiday House was moved to the east side of downtown in 2008, to the Burroughs Home and the neighboring Langford-Kingston Home.
The Burroughs Home comes alive with lights for the Holiday House event — Photo courtesy of Vandy Major / Burroughs Home
Each Holiday House event has a theme, and this year's is Songs of the Season. Each room in these lovely, historic homes uses a holiday song for its decoration inspiration, and some 200 women volunteer to bring these rooms to life.
The 6000-square-foot Georgian Revival mansion known as the Burroughs Home is billed as the oldest home in Fort Myers. Built in 1901, the downtown estate was bought by wealthy businessman Nelson Burroughs and his wife Adeline in 1918.
The Burroughs entertained the city's elite crowd, including famous winter residents the likes of Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone.
Today, the well-preserved property is a favorite spot for weddings and special events, with an expansive porch, a gazebo, reflecting pool and lovely view of the Caloosahatchee River. The lawn is adorned with royal palm trees and native vegetation that looks especially festive when draped in holiday lights.
Volunteers decorate rooms according to themes and history — Photo courtesy of Vandy Major / Burroughs Home
The Holiday House tour also includes the Langford-Kingston Home. This preserved property was built in 1919 by another prominent businessman who helped to bring the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad to the area: Walter C Langford.
George Kingston, inventor of the Kingston carburetor (used in Ford's Model T), eventually purchased the home, thus completing its historic name.
This Prairie-style architecture – with a wraparound veranda, cozy rooms and a waterfront lawn full of magnolia and royal palm trees and hibiscus plants – is fantastic when lit up for the holidays.
Besides the lights and fancy decorations, guests are entertained with live music each night not to mention visits from the big guy himself: Santa Claus.
The 2014 Holiday House has an opening reception and extended hours on Thursday, Dec. 11, from 2 p.m. to 11 p.m. The holiday attraction then remains open every evening from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. through Tuesday, Dec. 23.
The five-dollar admission includes tours of both properties, and there's a trolley stop nearby to take you into downtown proper. Kids 10 and under are free, along with active duty military personal and veterans.
Money raised from this event goes towards the preservation of these historic Fort Myers homes.
This two-stop tour provides affordable entertainment and holiday cheer for the entire family.